For most of us, we don’t let go because no one ever taught us how. Letting go, especially today, is seen as an ambiguous and spiritual thing, and next to impossible to define. It’s elusive. Out of mainstream grasp. So we don’t let go. How could we?
I remember one time a few years ago, I was going through a pretty tumultuous time; I experienced things as very chaotic in both my personal and professional life, and was really struggling with feeling centered and calm. A good friend said I needed to “Let it go” for now, to basically unleash my claws from every situation in my life that was causing me to feel a sense of panic and fear, as this was beginning to infiltrate my every waking moment.
At first, I was a bit offended by the comment; I could see the inherent usefulness, perhaps even resonated with some of the spiritual resolve of the comment, but how on earth was I to do such a thing? Was she serious?
Wasn’t my life important? Were not these “problems,” these areas of my world that needed abrupt attention and a subsequent overhauling, a matter of necessity?
I came to find that the answer was a very loud, resounding “no,” and that, in fact, my attempts to control and manipulate these things that I found were so vitally important, were acutely detrimental to my sense of peace and fulfillment and actually seemed to make the very things I was trying to control worse!
I have come to discover that the “things” of which I need to let go of the most, whether material/physical things like a certain job or relationship or an emotional disturbance (difficulties in a relationship or a personal goal, for example) are the ones I am most intertwined with or feel the most need to control. When I am in the clutches of self-will, worry, and trying to manage and manipulate the world around me (this comes from fear and my inherent need to experience a sense of feeling grounded and calm by the illusion that my life is predictable, certain, and fixed), I am wrapped up in me, me, me, and the result is I am miserable AND no help to anyone around me.
The equation can be confusing but basically it is this: the less attention and focus and fear on me and my world and my “problems,” equates to more usefulness to others, joy, and peace.
Less me=more life.
Letting go is a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual process of releasing to the Universe that which we cling to so tightly. In this process, we can learn to ultimately let go of people, outcomes, circumstances, ideas, feelings, needs, desires, etc. We learn that hanging on this tight actually harms us and most likely is blocking us from getting what we need.
In learning to let things happen in their own timeline, we learn that is what they are going to do anyway! And as we slowly learn to take the obsessive focus and fixing and put it back on the shelf, we’ll also be happier and so will those around us. Letting go creates an environment where the most positive outcomes are allowed to surface and in which the most growth can and will occur.
So, how do you do it? How do you go about letting go?
I have found letting go to be a process comprised of different dimensions-physical, mental/emotional/spiritual. So, let’s keep this simple and start out with the first one-the most difficult for beginners and also the foundation for the rest-the physical. In an odd way it’s the most simple to do and the most excruciating. However, letting go is very much like a muscle, and with time and sufficient practice, the growing pains lessen and no longer feel so debilitating and restrictive. With enough practice, the ability to do let go becomes easier and the freedom offered by it is something you actually seek, rather than hide.
So how do you let go physically? You do exactly that.
You let go PHYSICALLY.
Take your hand off the phone, away from the email, texting, driving over to discuss, confront, etc. You physically take your body out of the control business. This might seem impossible to do. I understand. I felt like I was suffocating for quite awhile when I began to practice this. Have you ever thought about what the controlling does FOR you? Well, think about it. All the physical “doing,” helps give you and I the illusion that things are different, changing, in control, whatever, and we don’t feel as frightened. But it’s all a farce, dear ones. None of these desperate pleas for control of outcomes actually work. In short, we are just not that powerful. So, in the first realm of surrender and letting go, we physically stop trying to control and we let go.
Now, please don’t get upset and assume I am talking about such issues as letting go when you’re unemployed, in an abusive relationship or any other type of situation that demands action. You do the action. You do all you can for THAT DAY, and then you let go. You sit in the present moment, super uncomfortable and acutely aware of your discomfort and you DO nothing. And you will not die. I promise.
One useful thing to think about is what you could be doing in place of the controlling you feel so compelled to take part? What could you be doing with your emotional time and energy, your physical time? Could you be helping someone else? Could you be of service in some capacity? I have always found that turning my attention to someone else, even for the smallest amount of time, actually takes the force of my ego away from me, and allows some freedom from my own self and a reprieve from my obsessive thinking.
I have also found that when I turn my attention away from myself enough and with consistent practice, the areas of my life that I am so wanting to fix, have this surreal quality of changing slightly on their own, finally given the space in the absence of my force. Sometimes, nothing actually changes in the physical world, but my perception of things and my life, when given some space and freedom to evolve, change, thus actually changing what is going on in my world. It is impossible to have a change in perception without a resultant change in my external world.
It’s Thursday evening right now.
Lets start small.
How about for one 24-hour period you commit to this practice. For one 24-hour period (after you have taken all the necessary action) let’s commit to being still, sitting on our hands, acknowledging our discomfort and not doing one thing to change, manipulate, control things that are in the forefront of our minds. For you dare devils, how about through the weekend?
Will this be easy? Probably not. Will this be fun? Depends on how you experience your environment and feelings. Will it be worthwhile? Definitely. This is the foundation of a huge expanse of peace and serenity. This is the building blocks of a new way of living. Th
is is the doorway to freedom and the ability to sit right where you are, with whatever is going on both around you and in your own head, and be still, welcoming the fluctuating dynamic of your world, and not allowing a delusional need to take action in a vain attempt to alter this ever-fluctuating life to give you a false sense of comfort. This is the real deal, my friends.
Let’s get started.