"Letting go creates a wonderful image. It is the way toward love, contentment, and breaking free. To get a visceral feeling of what letting go is like, put out your hands, palms up, make tight fists, and notice how this affects your whole body — your breathing, your jaw, your muscles. Then breath out and let your fists fall open. Breathe again. Just as holding tightly puts the squeeze on every part of your body, letting go helps everything start to flow together.

"The ego resists with all its might because letting go also means falling into the empty space between thoughts, concepts, images, and teachings. It can feel disorienting and unfamiliar — kind of like going through withdrawal from a substance. . . .

"When I think of letting go I have this image of an interior structure built over time — like a Structo set or a Tinkertoy — made up of thoughts, beliefs, and concepts that give me an anchor in life. Then, I imagine pulling out a crucial piece and letting the whole contraption collapse. No longer any clear beliefs, concepts, or sureness about anything. It's a groundless feeling. No anchor, no thought. You can see it in the ease with which children can knock over a sand castle they built because they aren't attached to the structure. It's all sand play — delving into sand, building, creating, then knocking it all down. Adults tend to feel uneasy about this because we get attached to our creations.

"Dismantling your concepts can feel like taking off your makeup, fancy clothes, titles, degrees, snazzy car, miseries, and wounds so you stand in the world without labels, without anything impressive, extraordinary, or valuable. As the Zen maser who says, 'I have nothing to lose because I have nothing,' we start to feel the freedom of nothing to protect, hold on to, or identify with."