The practice of Sati begins with the practice of letting go the breath. If you always move or act on the outbreath, you will find there is an inherent letting go. If you act on the inbreath, you will find there is a holding on or a pushing.
This is a skill you can teach yourself: to change from doing things on an inbreath to doing things on an outbreath. You will observe that people who walk into the room on an inbreath take a position, an attitude. They have a certain look and a certain shape. Whereas if you walk into the room on an outbreath, you fluidly enter the shape of whatever presents itself. This is the process that is going on during meditation. It is the process of continually letting go of the previous shape, the previous event. That is very different from getting rid of. Rather than pushing things away you merely stop holding. You let go, so that what is here is not being controlled.
Thought processes do not stop, they change, becoming more refined. As you sit now, if you breathe in strongly and hold the breath there, you can feel something posturing, stiffening. If you then let that breath go, really let it go, you feel something of the dissolving away of you. This is very important; the outbreath is the place where attention rests. The following inbreath is dependant on this. The inbreath is energy flowing in; the outbreath expresses that energy out into the world.
See how acting on the outbreath changes your behaviour: opening a door on an outbreath or meeting someone for the first time on an outbreath, rather than on an inbreath. You can feel whether you really connect at that moment or whether you merely display. When you let go of holding an opinion of yourself, there is a connection, there is fusion. The same goes for stroking a cat and drinking tea; it does not matter what it is you are doing, the fusion happens when you stop holding something back for yourself. That fusion happens more often, more completely, on the outbreath.
The practice of Sati begins with the process of letting go and recognising the areas of our lives that need to be updated, so that we stand free to express that true nature in the world.
To change your behaviour takes a little work. Behaviour is something that is conditioned, something that requires mindful application of new habits to replace old ones. This wonderful change uplifts the quality of everything. Letting go does not mean that something has gone; it means that you are no longer controlling it, you are no longer trying to fit in, and you are not trying to make it fit with you. You are stepping back from control. Stepping back from holding onto it, or pushing it away.
It starts with letting go