The art of letting go
Letting go, (or some may refer to it as non-attachment) means to allow a release, to relinquish ones grip on, or, to refrain from clinging and grasping. Often we attach or cling to what we like, but on the other side of the coin, letting go also refers to letting go of the resisting, the pushing away of what we don’t like, or behaviours of avoidance.
Letting go is the essence of mindful meditation. We sit, we observe, we examine and explore and we let go. We all have attachments, externally, for example, we may be attached to our job, a relationship, our appearance and image or material possessions. In this context we’re not talking about a healthy attachment, but rather -something that we desperately cling to, outside of ourselves, that we believe we need in order to be complete, or happy.
Internally we may be attached to certain beliefs or ideas, stories, regrets, resentments or judgements. We can also become attached to habits or behaviours that we use to avoid pain, like using food, alcohol, drugs, work or general busy-ness in order to escape dealing with uncomfortable issues or feelings. Sometimes our attachments have been the way we protected ourselves or survived, so letting go can be a slow and difficult process, and sometimes, we may need help.
Although letting go can be a difficult process, holding on to people or ideas that are no longer in our best interest, can cause much suffering, and block us from moving forward in life.
I’d also like to mention that we not only hold onto things in our mind, but we often hold them physically in our body, and if we don’t recognize this, it will be very difficult to let go. When meditating, or working on letting go, be aware of how things feel in your body, where you might be holding something, and bring your attention there, release the tension in that area, and breathe into it. Breath is our greatest tool in letting go. The breath itself is taking in -accepting, then releasing and letting go. We must release that breath, let out toxins, to make room for the next nourishing breath.
Suffering and attachment are a part of life. The four noble truths in Buddhism -the essence of the Buddha’s teachings, offer a way for us to deal with suffering. The second noble truth says that one of the roots of suffering is desire or attachment ( the other ones are hatred/don’t want, and delusion), so learning to “Let go” is essential for our happiness. And mindfulness and meditation are so helpful to first, become aware of what we are holding on to, and secondly, for allowing the time, the space, the right conditions, for letting go. What will you let go of today?
Practical tips/questions to ask yourself while trying to let go of situation, behaviour, opinion, judgement or person.
Letting go and surrendering are synonymous, but
The point is the following:
Who is surrendering? . The ego does but not your true genuine self.
The other point is the following question:
What should I do to achieve and maintain my inner peace and minimize internal suffering?
In most cases, letting go is the answer even if the ego surrenders and feels being cowardly.
The other questions that we talk about are:
Am I in control? Is the situation transient? Is the situation real or mind-mad fictional