The Skinny – Amy Brunell

Letting Go —

What does that mean anyway? Why should we let go? What’s the benefit of letting go and isn’t that the same as giving up? When is it enough?

Letting go is the “great allowing.” Letting go is the “great faith maker.” To let go and stop trying to pretend you are in control is a great step on any spiritual journey.

If you let go a little,
You will have a little happiness.
If you let go a lot,
You will have a lot of happiness.
If you let go completely,
You will be free.
-Ajahn Chah-

Letting go isn’t the same as giving up. Usually. In American culture we have such a problem with the idea of giving up and giving in. We believe that somehow letting go means we’re not trying hard enough, or we’re just plain not good enough. Because we can never do or be enough, we feel we are somehow inadequate and it all gets very mixed up. When should you let go, when should you push through? When should you keep at it? When should you walk away?

In addition, letting go is not the same as avoidance. If you are letting go to avoid doing or thinking about something, that something will keep coming back and bother you.

Letting go is giving up all hope that there is any chance of a better past. Letting go is about going deeper within and finding the still quiet space that allows you to hear what is best for you.

In Taoism, we think about staying in the flow of our life. We all have had those times when everything seemed to fall into place, even if only for a short while. If you think of your life as a stream, you try and keep yourself in the flow. When you hit a figurative boulder, you don’t try and push through it, you allow it’s presence and find a way to go around it to stay in the flow.

Letting go is moving beyond the fixed idea that you can move the boulder if you are good enough, smart enough or lucky enough. Letting go is accepting the boulder and even allowing it to teach you something before you flow downstream. It is having the understanding that the boulder is there and you don’t have to do anything to move it, you only have to move beyond it. That is your job.

So what are some of the “boulders” in your life now? What are you trying to push or move away that may be immovable? How can you accept the situation, person or thing that is immovable? How can you let go of your need to control it in some way?

“If you let go completely, you will be free.”

If reading that line, you can feel even the potential for some peace to come into your heart, you are working towards letting go. You will need to spend quiet time practicing letting go. When you catch yourself trying to hang on or to control something that is out of control, say to yourself, “Let go. Let go.” Breathe deeply. Go inside yourself. Breathe again. Notice any discomfort inside you. Notice any pain or grief that comes up with letting go. This is a practice. It isn’t an easy practice but it can help to change your life.

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