We experience life with intensity and then try to hold onto all of it from day to day. Even though carrying the world around on our shoulders doesn’t make much logical sense, we do it anyway. So how can we just let go?
“We all know exactly what it is like to be certain we have let go of something sorrowful or worrisome, only to find ourselves in a similar sad situation moments later.
Dropping this person and picking up that person doesn’t end the loneliness that drives us into dead-end relationships. This isn’t letting go. We have only managed to put the emptiness on hold.
Changing jobs to get away from someone or something that sets us off doesn’t cancel our conflict. This just delays the inevitable angry feelings that always surface whenever we feel threatened. Our anger cannot keep us safe from an insensitive world — this anger is the insensitivity itself.
Now, here’s the greatest secret on earth: the truth is that genuine letting go is very simple and, above all, natural; as natural for you and me as it is for a tree to shed the heavy, sun-ripened fruit that clings to its branches. Why? Because both man and tree, in fact all living things, are created to drop what is no longer needed.
For the tree, the falling fruit carries its matured seed to the ground. No unnatural force is necessary. In a similar fashion — that is to say, under higher but equally exacting laws — these same friendly forces are waiting to do for you what you haven’t been able to do for yourself. You need only learn to cooperate with these powerful and timeless principles to be able to let go of any emotional bitterness, relentless regret, anxious worry or troubling thought. The rest will be done for you.
This is what the secret of letting go is all about. First must come the understanding that we are still carrying around the accumulated defeats of a lifetime and that these weary weights have only served to make us someone sorry, not someone special.
This initial shock may shake us, but it is really a major breakthrough. It heralds the first in a series of miraculous self-separations in which we begin to see that we have been living from an unseen part of ourselves: A self that thinks clinging to wreckage is the same as being rescued!
Now we understand why all of our past efforts to let go have only left us holding a new problem. But now we also know, at last, exactly what it is that must be dropped. We must let go of this sorry self that is certain it is better to suffer and feel like someone than it is to just let go and quietly be no one. Have no concerns how this task will be accomplished. That is Reality’s responsibility.
This higher knowledge that is now beginning to reveal you to yourself is not mental. It is coming to you from a lofty, wise and powerful part of yourself which lives way above everyday thinking and its ceaseless conflict over what may or may not be best.
Your newly awakening inner-nature knows what is best for you because it sees life without the painful confusion and contradictions that always accompany compulsive self-interest. For instance, this higher intelligence knows that you don’t need to ache even when you are sure you must.
Once you have made contact with the still secret self within, it does the rest. That’s right. It is this higher part of yourself alone that has the strength and wisdom to gently open your hand so that out of it may drop all that has been making you unhappy.
Believe me, you are on the verge of the single greatest discovery any human being can make. The secret of letting go not only holds the keys for ending what is unwanted, but locked within this same supreme secret is the beginning of your New Life — the birth of a new nature that never has to hold on to anything because it is already everything.
Dare to proceed. Let the following special insight speed you on your way: Letting go is the natural release which always follows the realization that holding on hurts.”
(Excerpted from The Secret of Letting Go, Rev. Edition, Llewellyn)