The Art of Letting Go
This year has been one big lesson in letting go.
When I lost my baby this past summer, it was a massive shift in expectations. I had to let go of the future I had already built, I had to let go of the expectation that I would get to raise her and be her mom. But that story is never what was going to happen. The experience I wanted to have, still wish I could have, is not what was needed for my growth. This knowledge helped me to let go of those expectations.
The weeks following the loss, I let the grief come through in waves, felt the feelings, and in the breaks between the waves I leaned into the opportunities that arose from the situation: how it was a means of connecting to others, how it reminded me of how precious my time with my children is, for example. Eventually, the waves spread out in distance and soon I was left mostly with the gratitude for the expansion that resulted from the experience.
Here are some thoughts on letting go I’ve gathered for myself in these past months:
- Difficult situations arise as a training ground for gaining self-realization. When this happens, we have two options: we can resist what is or we can recognize what is, accept it, and roll with it.
- Suffering comes from a resistance to what is.
- All that is ever happening is evolution, in order to make way for what is coming, what is no longer relevant must fall away. If we let it go without resistance, there is no suffering.
- It takes acceptance, accepting ourselves and our lives for what they are in this moment, accepting others for who they are in this point of their evolution.
- We often hold onto our expectations: our expectations about the future, about ourselves, about others. For some reason, we often have an expectation that things will continue on without change and the status quo will remain indefinitely. But by holding on to these expectations, we are resisting change, we are resisting what is, and thus we writhe in discomfort.
Here are some thoughts on how to let go:
Of course, the big advice I have is to meditate, meditate, mediate. All the things that cause a resistance to letting go–perceived dependence on outcome for happiness, not accepting the present, allowing others to dictate our inner experience–Vedic meditation softens all of them.
If you are in the grips of an uncomfortable inner experience, do not resist, push it away, or worse, shame yourself for having the experience. Feel it, feel where it is in your body. Observe it. Then observe it moving through you, and then eventually the wave of the experience will flatten. We could call letting go just “letting.”
Knowledge is also the antidote for fear. Here are some ways to reframe some typical experiences from a more Vedic perspective:
Feeling anxious about the future – We are not dependent on outcome for our inner experience. There is no need to control, cling, or push our way to a future that we think will set us up for happiness. The more we send a signal that we are dependent on outcome for happiness, the more nature will give us lessons to wake us from this hypnosis.
Disappointed things haven’t gone my way – We can only be disappointed if we make an appointment. Disappointment comes from setting up rigid expectations. This is also a sign of dependency on outcome.
Blaming yourself for past mistakes – We are all evolving and are here to evolve. Our past mistakes are the stepping stones of our evolution. Guilt, regret, embarrassment, these all are sourced in our lack of understanding that evolution is all that is ever happening.
Blaming someone else for their wrong-doings – People’s actions are giving us information on their states of consciousness, that is all. No one is responsible for our inner experience. They can offer us a dagger, but we have to choose to stab ourselves. That’s a metaphor, if they really stab us with an actual knife, then going to the hospital is in order.
Letting go is the process of surrender. This does not mean we give up or let others treat us poorly. It means we gracefully give up control because we realize, we never were really were in control in the first place.
"Let it go, let it go, can't hold it back anymore!"