I’ve been avoiding this topic for a while, although I have alluded to it quite often in other writes. Letting go. Two relatively innocuous words that, when placed together, have such a profound meaning. Of course the phrase means different things to different people, and there are levels and variations of letting go, aren’t there. As above, so below, at both the micro and macro scales of our divine interaction.
What does it mean, to let go, in our lives? What should we let go of? What should we hold on to? These questions, more than most, are of the most intimately personal level, and there are few of us, I am sure, who are willing to put, on public display, the details of our lives and thought processes, especially those that, through their very disfunctional nature, prevent us from moving forward into the Now in a healthy and productive manner. Because, of course, these are the types of personality constraints, psychological permutations and spiritually deadening activities and habits that we most need to let go of.
Holding on to hate, pain, sorrow, or even to some semblances of love, chains us to the past. Continuing to dwell on the things that happened to us 20 years ago, 10 years ago, last month, yesterday, take us out of the Now and into a space of vague recollection that consists more of emotional impressions than actual memory. When you think about it, when you recall some terrible event of the past, it is the emotions of the recollection that keep you coming back to that memory, because you are tied to the way it makes you feel in that moment of remembering. So while there may be images of the scene flitting thorugh your mind, they are secondary to the pain, to the sorrow, to the habit of emotional addiction that feeds our inner pain-bodies, our Egos. We’ve spoken of this in many ways, many different times, in these blogs that we write, of our Egos, and how they consist of familial and cultural impressions that form a false Self masking our true Selves beneath, how we think that we are these memories, these thoughts, this person who does this and that, who lives here and loves him or her, when the truth really is that our core Self is eternal and immortal and beyond the petty concerns of our daily grind.
Being tied, emotionally, to the past, prevents us from living in the moment. We are so busy remembering, thinking about the sorrow or the happiness that we’ve experienced, that we miss the moment, what is happening right Now. The inability to truly let go of these memories and move forward is an addiction that probably over 90% of the world’s people share, and that keeps us all from transcending this material plane in an instant flash of brilliance and joy.
Conversely, worrying about or brooding over the future is similarly negative. Doing so, again, takes us out of the moment, away from what is happening right Now and into an area of indeterminacy, since no one knows the future and, in fact, visualizing it in a negative fashion coalesces galactic and infinite forces toward the manifestation of that vision and increases the possiblity of whatever it is you’re worrying or brooding about actually happening in your life. It is another habit, equally as useless as dwelling on the past, but one that most of us engage in.
Why is it so hard to let go? Perhaps it is because we invest so much of who we are into who we have been and who we wish to be. Right now, as I complete my doctorate I find myself looking forward into the next few months and wonder what types of opportunities I’ll find, where I’ll be living in 4 months, where I’ll be working, if I’ll be able to finally finish my books, if my life will be where I have envisioned it to be, how my children will adapt to inevitable change, and if I’m going to do the right thing by everyone who is invested in me emotionally and in other ways. I wonder if my past decisions that have led to this moment were the right ones, if I should have taken the path of more material wealth rather than education, if I should have followed my art or music, if that one, fateful decision I made that has brought me to this moment was the right one and if it has served some divine purpose far beyond my capacity to understand.
My worries and regrets mirror yours. We find it hard to let go because we are invested in our material lives. We love each other physically and emotionally and have created patterns of interaction that valid themselves through shared psychic activity that feeds our pain bodies and keeps us swinging between highs and lows, depression and elation, sadness and happiness. Tied to the dharmic wheel we conduct our lives in the fashion in which we have been trained, taking our places in society and fulfilling the remorseless needs of familial and cultural production, being father and wife, sister and lover, friend and enemy, worker and boss. Tied equally to the karmic wheel we create karma with our reactions and actions, responding negatively and positively to the things that happen to us, most times not even realizing that there is another choice, that we don’t have to respond the way we’ve been conditioned to, that an eye for an eye is not the only way and even that the physical and emotional expressions of love that we are used to are equally karma-causing and bind us as remorselessly to the wheel of incarnation as do the infinite permutations of negative action and reaction.
Letting go of all of this is as simple as stopping thought. Refusing to entertain memory, disbelieving in the existence of the future. Lifelong patterns of thought are difficult to disengage. If you’ve ever tried meditation you will recognize the fact that thoughts come on their own, and, sometimes, don’t even originate within your own mind. Taking 15 minutes a day to sit quietly and observe your thought process will quickly bring you to the conclusion that much of what you think is useless and follows a cyclical pattern of behavior that is easily discerned. Learning to observe thought is key to breaking the patterns of our past. Learning to stop thought is key to breaking the patterns of our future. Learning to live in the Now is key to realizing the possibility of letting go. For it is only in the Now that life can truly be lived, that the past and the future hold no meaning because it becomes apparent that, in the end, there is no past and future, there is only the moment, and that this is the true illusion that keeps us mired in old patterns of interaction and despair.
We don’t have to be who we were, 5 years ago or even earlier today. We don’t have to do tommorrow what we did today. The emotional investment that we hold on to is what keeps us bound by illusory chains and the import we give to them makes them seem unbreakable to our minds. When we realize that it is our minds and not our Selves that we are catering to, we initiate a chain reaction, a paradigm shift that sets off implosive reprecussions at every level of our consciousnesses.
The emotional investment, of course, is refering to every aspect of our material lives. The ties that bind, the lives we live, in every aspect. Letting go of your family, letting go of your job; letting go of your name, letting go of your fame; letting go of the habits of Ego, of discourse and discontent, of intellectual masturbation and vapid media enslavement takes us out of our comfort zones and into a place of open and infinite possibilities. And that is truly fearsome.
Letting go of these things does not mean forgoing your responsibilities. What it does mean is centering your Self within your Self and not upon something external to your Self. It does not mean up and leaving your family, quitting your job, going to a mountain and meditating upon your navel. It means shifting your view of yourself, going within and truly knowing who you are and what you want and, even more importantly, why you are here on this Earth where you are at, in this time and in the position and situation you are in. Letting go is finally finding your purpose, refusing to give in to the Ego’s selfish whisperings, finally realizing that the ego is the slave and the Self is the Master, breaking the pattern that was formed by a lifetime of personal and cultural production.
All of this is possible, and more than that, probable. At some future point, the science of self-transformation will be taught to children at the earliest school grades. But for now, it is the culmination of the personal spiritual journey that we each must embark upon at the insistence of our souls, seeking to sooth that inner ache of sublime knowledge that calls us forth to seek our destinies in the fulness of subjective time and the expansive beauty of our lived realities.
And, for such Souls of Light, there are many guides along the way. But the truest guide is within your Self. Eternal Truth lies within. There is no external knowledge in the world that you cannot discern for yourself by going inside of yourself to look for it. The resonation, the vibration that you feel when you read something that is true is indicative of this fact. The synchronicities and strange occurences that seem to typify the most memorable and meaningful experiences in your life, the proof of Divinity’s movement in your life. The paradox of our creation is the journey of a lifetime in the solving, every step of the way an act of letting go.
As we move through each moment memories of the past sift from our bodies as layers of epidermis, dissipating into the astral breeze of the Akashic Records as evidence of our existence, dying to the moment with every passing breath, living eternally, in the Now.