One City

One City

Sit Down and Rise Up – Letting Go

by Damaris Williams

little over a month ago on November 6, I and many members of the IDP community
sat down for the Sit Down Rise Up 24 Hour Meditation Marathon in the window of
ABC Carpet and Home.  I sat for 24 hours along with Activism Director Rafi
Santos, Teacher Jessica Rasp and Founder Ethan Nicthern. Since then, many have
approached me asking what it was like to sit that long.   I find
myself unable to give a concise answer because so many things happened. My mind
changed, the environment changed, the people passing by the window changed.
 Each new moment offered an opportunity to practice dharma in a different
way than the moment before, once again reminding me of the challenge of every
moment to be awake and kind.



today I’m writing about a moment I had not planned for. Someone who had hurt me
deeply came to the window.  There I was as open as a sky and there she was
with camera on hand. I wish I could say I stayed open but the truth is I
couldn’t even force a smile.


looked at her fuddling with her camera. Then slowly it dawned on me that she’s
grey and getting old. That one day she will be sick and dying and
So Will I. There she stood soft, just like
me.  I tried my best to hold on to my justified anger but after 21 hours
of meditating, anger was pretty hard to come by.

was underneath the anger buoyed up to the surface and finally unraveled the
knot that had bound me for too long. Underneath all the tears was just a simple
longing to be understood and cared for, and I finally accepted that she never


was such a painful moment to accept. I wanted to be angry but she was soft just
like me and I couldn’t be angry.  In the end we are both innocent. In the
end we are both flawed. So common sense finally came into view. I had to let it
go . . . and so I did.

Comments read comments(6)
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Anan E. Maus

posted December 14, 2009 at 4:11 pm

such a deeply beautiful story! thank you so very much for sharing with us!

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posted December 14, 2009 at 8:53 pm

I have sat in the same window, figuratively. The people watching had no idea what was in my mind. An old, dear friend who deserved my anger was dying and I went to see him. To forgive and to let him go was at once what I should have done, and what I would hope would be done for me. I did it, mindful, let him slip from my angry fist, and I looked again and there was nothing there.

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posted December 15, 2009 at 12:02 pm

Sometimes the greatest act of strength is opening one’s clenched fist. Thanks for sharing that!

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posted December 16, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Thank you and your welcome

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Jerry Kolber

posted December 18, 2009 at 6:44 am

“What was underneath the anger buoyed up to the surface and finally unraveled the knot that had bound me for too long. Underneath all the tears was just a simple longing to be understood and cared for, and I finally accepted that she never would.”
Thank you for so eloquently explaining how difficult and unexpected practice can be. I’m also finding it doesn’t always lead me to the place I expected, or planned for (or even necessarily “wanted”), but is the place I have to go. Thank you.

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posted December 18, 2009 at 9:27 am

Thank you for sharing your story. You point out part of the power of meditation that I think can only be understood through direct experiences like the one you shared. I’ve also had similar experiences on the cushion; no matter how I tried to reason myself out of my anger or try to negotiate with myself or even the other person… only by sitting with it could I finally let those old issues go and see clearly the motives behind them. We may say “all beings want happiness, just as I do,” all we want but there’s something that happens when we sit that opens up the heart and lets us truly let go.

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