It is important to know when you have let go of desire: when you no longer judge or try to get rid of it; when you recognise that its just the way it is. When you are really calm and peaceful, then you will find that there is no attachment to anything. You are not caught up, trying to get something or trying to get rid of something. Well-being is just knowing things as they are without feeling the necessity to pass judgement upon them.
We say all the time, This shouldnt be like this!, I shouldnt be this way! and, You shouldnt be like this and you shouldnt do that! and so on. Im sure I could tell you what you should be - and you could tell me what I should be. We should be kind, loving, generous, good-hearted, hard-working, diligent, courageous, brave and compassionate. I dont have to know you at all to tell you that! But to really know you, I would have to open up to you rather than start from an ideal about what a woman or man should be, what a Buddhist should be or what a Christian should be. Its not that we dont know what we should be.
Our suffering comes from the attachment that we have to ideals, and the complexities we create about the way things are. We are never what we should be according to our highest ideals. Life, others, the country we are in, the world we live in - things never seem to be what they should be. We become very critical of everything and of ourselves: I know I should be more patient, but I just CANT be patient!....Listen to all the shoulds and the should nots and the desires: wanting the pleasant, wanting to become or wanting to get rid of the ugly and the painful. Its like listening to somebody talking over the fence saying, I want this and I dont like that. It should be this way and it shouldnt be that way. Really take time to listen to the complaining mind; bring it into consciousness.
I used to do a lot of this when I felt discontented or critical. I would close my eyes and start thinking, I dont like this and I dont want that, That person shouldnt be like this, and The world shouldnt be like that. I would keep listening to this kind of critical demon that would go on and on, criticising me, you and the world. Then I would think, I want happiness and comfort; I want to feel safe; I want to be loved! I would deliberately think these things out and listen to them in order to know them simply as conditions that arise in the mind. So bring them up in your mind - arouse all the hopes, desires and criticisms. Bring them into consciousness. Then you will know desire and be able to lay it aside.
The more we contemplate and investigate grasping, the more the insight arises: Desire should be let go of. Then, through the actual practice and understanding of what letting go really is, we have the third insight into the Second Noble Truth, which is: Desire has been let go of. We actually know letting go. It is not a theoretical letting go, but a direct insight. You know letting go has been accomplished. This is what practice is all about.