Our Zen practice is often very much about dropping. Drop thoughts, drop language, drop anger, drop sadness, etc. are just some examples from the forum recently. In the book club this week we read about how Dogen even dropped the concept of dropping. But in order to drop something we first have to hold on to it. To hold/drop seems a non-duality. Thereís wholeness there, a gestalt to it that I think might be helpful to recognize. While we canít have dropping without holding, I am arguing that it is the dropping that makes holding precious.
We hold on to so many things in our lives, and it is important that we hold on to these things so that we can function. The one thing we often hold on to most tightly is our identity, our ego, but things like the car keys and the daily schedule are also important. All of these things, and more, help us; they support us as well as those around us. So in that sense they deserve to be held on to. They are forms just as precious as emptiness.
Dogen says to study the self is to forget the self. To study the self is to hold on to the self in such a way as to get to know it intimately, so intimately that you exhaust its very essence to the point that you can then drop it as empty. Thus that self is precious and not to be dropped casually, but carefully and with full awareness.
Do not think of hold/drop as either/or, because thatís just getting caught in another duality. So when you say drop, be aware of holding on. When you become aware that you are holding on to something, then you can also become aware of the possibility of dropping it away.
These are just some thoughts about what Iím learning lately. Feel free to hold/drop them.