To Let Go or To Control

Against All Logic

Once a person has familiarised themselves with a reasonable selection of literature related to Zen Buddhism they often find that there is a lot of seemingly conflicting advice. Some writers advocate “letting go” of thoughts and mental processes while others recommend getting thoughts under control and stabilising the mind. Sometimes this conflicting advice
can become paralysing; it sows confusion and doubt and a person can be at a loss as to which road to take.

In reality, both “letting go” and “control” are required. To let go, to genuinely let go, requires a degree of control. If a person simply allows thoughts to occur and makes no effort to grasp at or to engage with thoughts, then there is in that process a considerable amount of control required. A person must constantly remain alert to the grasping process and resist the temptation to engage with thoughts. This requires control because the…

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