In any spiritual path one follows, inevitably, the idea of letting go rears its head. Why is it so important? Why is it so difficult? We can face this conundrum in a myriad of ways. Not only on our own path, but also when dealing with others – for example when we are dealing with other people, we must approach them free of expectations and requirements; in many forms of meditation, we are asked to let our thoughts go as they appear; in counseling sessions, we must let go of preconceived projections and outcomes.
What are some of the things we need to let go of? Well, the list is infinite, but here’s some food for thought: shame, guilt, fear, anger, bad relationships, expectations, grief, resistance, dependency…
And through all of this letting go, the mind is clinging with fierce determination to what it knows. “The devil you know is better (safer) than the devil you don’t!” we exclaim. The dangerous unknown lurks in front of us like an abysmal hole. The purpose of the mind or Ego is to keep us safe – that part of ourselves will do whatever it takes to accomplish its mission of keeping us safe from harm – and what could be more unsafe than the unknown or change? However, a full cup cannot be filled with something new – it must be emptied first. Let go!
If we can allow ourselves to open up with grace (or without, as the case may be) and trust to the unknown and something different, what we find is a whole new world of options and possibilities. The Divine has more in store for us than we can imagine for ourselves, but our job is to have faith and let go!
The question is how? How can we let go when our “monkey mind” is clinging tight to its vine? There are 5 simple steps to easing into faith and “letting go and letting God”:
1. Label that part of yourself that is afraid. Give it a name and make it as real in your mind as possible. This gives you something to focus on.
2. Let it express its fear through journaling or meditation.
3. Speak to it gently as you would a frightened child. Don’t dismiss it – it will only cry louder!
4. Get silent and still so that you can hear the still, small voice within – this is what will tell you your next step, if any.
5. Breathe! It is so important during these times of change to remember to breathe.
By giving voice to your fears, you allow that voice to know it’s being listened to. Only then can it begin to be comforted. Then the monkey can finally let go of that vine – that’s the only way you’ll be able to catch the next vine – much like a trapeze artist, in order to catch one trapeze the artist must let go of the one they are holding and trust that the one they need will be where it needs to be when they let go.
Remember that when a window is closed, a door is opened. Go ahead, close that window! Let go and live life!
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