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Letting Go of the Person You Used to Be: Lessons on Change, Loss, and Spiritual Transformation
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Letting Go of the Person You Used to Be: Lessons on Change, Loss, and Spiritual Transformation

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  999 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
The beloved American Lama, a spiritual leader whose inimitable light and
lively universal teaching style has awakened the spirituality of thousands, now shares an enlightened approach to change and loss, dealing with difficult emotions such as fear, grief, and anger, and the role of crisis in uncovering our authentic selves.

For many people, recent years have been characteri
Paperback, 240 pages
Published August 24th 2004 by Harmony (first published 2003)
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Joan Kite
Feb 16, 2013 Joan Kite rated it really liked it
I am actually in the midst of reading this book and will probably clutch it to my chest for some time. At 23, I lost my son, Benjamin. At 25, my lover murdered his wife and through all of that, I lost a great deal - reputation, job, the sense of the world, etc. At 49, just two months ago, I lost my mother and had to let go of any hope of a relationship with my father. One more time, the world is a strange place and the sense of who I am has been shattered. This book is a godsend. Lama Surya Das, ...more
Apr 04, 2009 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lama Surya Das is one of the wisest, most gentle people on this earth, and this book helped me through one of the most difficult periods of my life. Going through the loss of the love of my life not withstanding, this book changed me as a person and changed my outlook on life - even in a time of great pain and suffering. I recommend it to anyone dealing with loss or change, both of which are inevitable in this life. This book will change you, it will speak to you, and it will touch your heart.
Oct 20, 2015 David rated it really liked it
Lama Surya Das, an authorized lama in the Dzogchen lineage of Tibet and author of the best-selling book Awakening The Buddha Within, offers practical advice about dealing with change, loss, and spiritual transformation in the book Letting Go of the Person You Used To Be.

The book is broken into sections that focus on different aspects of the main topic, such as "Naming Our Losses", "Letting Go of the Person You used to Be", and "Being Heroic in the Face of Loss". Each chapter opens with a thought
May 12, 2012 April rated it really liked it
I never would have read this book if I hadn't joined a book club where it was "assigned." I'm so glad I did. It was excellent. I've always been interested in Buddhism but struggled with the concept of detachment. Lama Surya Das explains Eastern concepts in a way that makes it easy for Westerners to understand. He bridges the gap between two extremely different worldviews, bringing some of the world's oldest wisdom to a new audience.

The Lama's greatest messages on loss are to accept them, grieve
Sep 07, 2008 Kara rated it it was amazing
I was longing to read a book on transformation because of all of the emotional changes I've experienced in the last few years. Within the last year it seems all of the changes somewhat came to a boiling point and bubbled over but just when I thought the waters were calm another surge of change from all directions came flowing through. And yet another and I'm expecting another internal change any minute now. It is all so very exciting. This book served to feed that longing and help me relish in t ...more
Jan 19, 2009 Jasmine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: american
I'm apparently too tired not to give a book five stars tonight. No I actually did like all of these books. This book has a new age title, but thankfully the content is far more traditional. There is no karma drive through in das' world. This is a very "religious" book which for me is always slightly of being that I am not a very religious person. I don't believe in Tibetan Buddhism and am drawn to secular Indian and Zen for very specific reasons. But none of that negates the meaning of the Tibet ...more
Apr 28, 2015 Sommer rated it really liked it
This book has taken me quite some time to finish due to life happenings and other books I am reading in addition to, but it has been nothing short of a joyful journey to read. I have been looking for a book to help me grow on my spiritual path and self development for quite some time and I am happy to say that Lama Surya Das has been a profound spiritual teacher on my personal journey. This book is definitely a must read for those trying to reach self actualization or grow as a person. There is ...more
Jennifer Campaniolo
Aug 17, 2010 Jennifer Campaniolo rated it liked it
Nothing terribly new here if you've red other Buddhist philosophy books, and Surya Das relies on a few too many cliched phrases, but his message is innocuous, even comforting. Basically we all lose things/people whom we love in this life, so we need to cherish what we have now. Also there are all sorts of love beyond just romantic love--love of nature, animals, children, etc. There are plenty of opportunities to welcome new forms of love into our life.
Mar 17, 2013 Leslie rated it really liked it
Lama Surya Das does a great job of linking non-attachment to awareness and letting go whenever facing anything difficult in your life. He has a nice balance of both stories from different people's lives as well as general teachings on the topic. I have two other books of his that I haven't either started or finished but this book has really motivated me to dig into them.
Feb 24, 2016 Willow rated it liked it
Shelves: religion, 2011
I thought it was a very simple and easy to read book with excellent anecdotes. The subtle incorporation of basic meditation methods were very helpful and relatively easy to comply. For anyone wanting to start practicing meditation, at the same time wanting to understand the "how and why," this book will be a great tool.
Sep 17, 2009 Sham rated it it was amazing
A wise mentor gave me this book... I'm learning! Good read about loss and life.
Brendan Howard
Dec 26, 2016 Brendan Howard rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those who need some guidance in life
I enjoy the reading ABOUT but has trouble engaging the PRACTICE OF Buddhist meditation and meditation in general. Like prayer, I suspect it rewards those who engage in regular practice and not folks trying for a breath here and there. I have difficulty believing it works, that there is a "there" there. I dunno. But I want to try!
Sep 04, 2014 Nikki rated it it was amazing
This book is written from a Buddhist perspective mixed with a post-modern and Western understanding. I appreciate that Lama Surya Das integrates philosophies from various religions, mythologies, thinkers and writers (from Thoreau to Jung to Campbell). He acknowledges the complexities of letting go of problems & difficulties (big and small). He also acknowledges there's some experiences you don't get over, and you don't need to... but you can still let go. What's really great about this book ...more
Katie Kenig
Aug 01, 2015 Katie Kenig rated it really liked it
Shelves: buddhism, non-fiction
This book took forever for me to finish! Even after renewing it twice at the library, it still went a week overdue. It is a slim little volume, but it is extremely dense, and each chapter took me some time to think over, reflect on, even meditate on before I could move on. In hindsight, I should have bought this book, but I didn't realize how much meaning I would find packed into the pages.

I have had a couple of years of change in my life. I wasn't very happy about the person that I had become,
Nikki Magennis
I've been having an odd time reading this. The first chapter started off in fairly standard cliched self helpish, and then suddenly veered into random chanting (a bit startling, considering there was no introduction to or explanation of the particular strain of Buddhism the author follows).

Along the way there have been some fair insights and a few worthwhile quotes and ideas, but I can't get past how American it is. The cultural references, phrasing, the stories. All seem very rooted in a parti
Dec 31, 2014 Em rated it really liked it
This has been our UU Meditation book and the group finished it a couple of weeks ago, but I'd missed a few weeks here and there so I was always dashing through to get caught up. Consequently I'm not sure I got the most comprehensive read of this book and may read it again after a time. The portions that stuck with me were the stories of loss and his own description of the loss of his first love, not due to death, but that she had taken vows as a Zen nun before he had committed to becoming a Budd ...more
Craig Williams
May 30, 2012 Craig Williams rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed Surya Das' book "Awaken the Buddha Within" and so very much looked forward to reading this. Fortunately, I was not disappointed! Although a short read, Das manages to encapsulate a lot of Buddhist wisdom in ways that are both relatable and easy to grasp. When people ask me what they should read to get into Buddhism, Surya Das books are always at the top of the list for those very reasons. It can be difficult to relate to the life experiences of monks who have only known life in ...more
Oct 16, 2012 Angelique rated it really liked it
This book started off a little slow for me. As a friend stated, "it seemed like he was trying to work into the topic." However, as he got going he gave so many great exercises and examples that it made the topic very accessible. I also like how Lama Surya Das puts a western spin on Buddhism, not dumbing it down in any way, but making it more relevant to the daily lives of Americans. He provides a lot of stories and examples that are very easy to relate to. This is definitely one that I'll keep o ...more
Amy Fujiwara
Jan 26, 2016 Amy Fujiwara rated it it was ok
The good:
There were lots of quotes I'd not heard before.
There were a couple of lists of journal questions to help 'process' losses or see what we're attached to.
There was some repeating of points I've heard good spiritual teachers mention.
There were a couple of 'practice advice' sections; like homework assignments you could try doing.

There were too many examples. I felt like I could see the author laying out post-its or index cards with each example written on them under each title's cate
Christy Baker
This was a mixed book for me in that I picked it up and put it down several times over the last year. There were sections that felt a bit slower or perhaps they just didn't hit me in the right mood, yet other times i found I deeply resonated with some of the practices Surya Das recommends for cultivation of mind and practice of a Buddhist pathway through mindful attention in daily life. Perhaps the book itself most perfectly represents the on-going nature of precisely the dailiness of practice, ...more
Agnes M
Sep 22, 2014 Agnes M rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-self
Not quite what I expected. The first half of the book primarily describes types of loss and that everyone has it. The second half was of more value though the only prominent thought I was left with was that the title of the book was somewhat misleading. The book is more about introducing awareness and what mindfulness is which can lead to change though the book falls short of actually addressing change or "letting go."
Oh my gosh...I can't express how much this book has influenced my way of thinking lately. It's inspirational and didactic. I love how it helps you to look at life from a whole new perspective and to let go of things that seem so overwhelming. I think it is a great read as well for anyone experiencing a loss of a loved one, a loss of self or direction, or just generally feeling lost in general. Highly recommend it!!
Nikki DiVirgilio
Dec 31, 2012 Nikki DiVirgilio rated it liked it
I resonated with much of the wisdom in this book. I did not discover anything new, but was reminded of wisdom I often lose sight of. At the end of the book, particularly the final chapter seemed forced and carried a new-agey/positive thinking vibe that I did not appreciate. It felt like he had to satisfy either his insecurity or a publisher to make sure to add a bunch of tips and superficial advice, which did not fit in well with the rest of the book, which seemed more real and substantial.
Feb 06, 2011 Michelle rated it it was amazing
I loved this book enough to read it again, just so I could remember and highlight the points that stuck out to me. It is a book that will apply to anyone and everyone at some point in their lives, and I would consider it a must-read for every individual! It isn't preachy, it doesn't try to convert the reader to Buddhism or sway them to think one particular way. It simply points out the mindset of a Buddhist, and allows the reader to apply these views and values in his or her own life.
Aug 26, 2011 Tina rated it it was amazing
This was excellent. I plan on reading his other books on Buddhism as well. Over the past two years I went through a rough time, I had a relationship end badly, I lost a very dear friend to cancer and I have been finding peace and strength through Buddhist meditation practices. It has truly helped me work through some of the things that I need to work through and this book was a very helpful read. Highly recommended.
Feb 02, 2013 Nadia rated it it was ok
This is maybe the 8th or 9th Buddhist/Self-Help/Grieving/Renewal book that I've read in the past 2 months and I have to say I'm hanging up the hat with this one. I got it now. If you are brand new to the concepts of Buddhism, meditation, or mindfulness this is a good introduction, especially in the context of loss of a loved one, job loss, or loss of a goal or dream.
Dina Kaidir Elsouly
Sep 26, 2007 Dina Kaidir Elsouly rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: definitely, yes!
At the time, I read this book the first time, I read with interest about mediation exercises. Although heavily rooted in Buddlisht philosophy, it is universal in application. I love his easy to read, plain language explaining about complex philosophies. He also fills the book with living examples of people making that transformation. I use it like a manual!!!
Oct 11, 2016 Claudine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another good book by Lama Surya Das

Always well written. Wonderful practices and meditations provided on mindfulness. I appreciated personal examples and those of others. I always learn so much.
Apr 26, 2014 Lesley rated it it was amazing
Althoough AWAKENING THE BUDDHA WITHIN was this author's bestseller, Surya Das presented me with just what I needed in this book. Wanting to be more than you are requires seeing past your reality. Give yourself a gift and read LETTING heal, to live fuller and to transform.
Apr 16, 2016 Monica rated it it was ok
Shelves: spirituality
Good selection of personal stories, but rather superficial interpretation. This is for someone who hasn't thought much about the self (psychoanalytically or spiritually) and is new to meditation.
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Lama Surya Das is one of the foremost Western Buddhist meditation teachers and scholars, one of the main interpreters of Tibetan Buddhism in the West, and a leading spokesperson for the emerging American Buddhism. The Dalai Lama affectionately calls him “The Western Lama.”

His most recent book is Make Me One with Everything: Buddhist Meditations to Awaken from the Illusion of Separation. He is well
More about Lama Surya Das...

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“Our sorrows provide us with the lessons we most need to learn.” 14 likes
“With every breath, the old moment is lost; a new moment arrives. We exhale and we let go of the old moment. It is lost to us. In doing so, we let go of the person we used to be. We inhale and breathe in the moment that is becoming. In doing so, we welcome the person we are becoming. We repeat the process. This is meditation. This is renewal. This is life.” 14 likes
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