Letting go, one of life’s toughest lessons
We often say that forgiveness and letting go are two of life’s toughest lessons. Every so often there are moving examples of forgiveness, as demonstrated recently by an Auschwitz ex-prisoner forgiving and embracing a German man on trial for being a prison guard during the extermination of Jews and minorities.
But why do we struggle so much with letting go? Perhaps the reasons are many and layered in our minds. Firstly there is the relatively simple step of giving up holding on to the past; letting go of the attachments and the grievances of yesterday and moving forward into a better tomorrow. It is the past and it has gone; now it is only a story in our mind and only has the value we give it. The results of holding on are fairly straight forward: typically we become sad and then depressed with constant feelings of loss. Or we let go and life becomes exciting, becomes an adventure and we live in a state of expectancy about what interesting things are going to happen next.
The next level seems to be the attachment to the dream rather than to the people. We all have a dream about how our life, our career, our marriage is or was going to be. Many of these dreams are the dreams of a small child who in a time of pain fixed on this idea of what would make us happy. However as we all know things don’t turn out our way and these dreams become broken dreams and these too we must let go of. We must let go of them because they are, in truth, limiting and they don’t allow for the inclusion of so many other possibilities, for the hand of providence to show up and guide us towards what will really make us happy.
That level is quite deep but now for the juicy bit. What is going on when we find ourselves really struggling to let go of an issue or a person even after they are long gone and we are still harrumphing in the thistle patch? This is us basically having a tantrum. We are hopefully not lying on the supermarket floor wailing and pounding our fists but we are still having a tantrum about not getting what we want. We who are so much wiser than the universe, us ascended beings making a short visit and slumming it know what we want and because we can’t get it we have a tantrum.
Most of us have become masters at having a hidden tantrum, developing all kinds of psychological process to disguise it. The first clue is if our reaction to being told we are having a tantrum is to have a tantrum! But take a moment and look around the world: even in the face of mounting evidence that we are on the wrong track we still will not let go and change and we fight anyone who goes against us, anyone who gets between us and what we need, anyone who questions our intentions.Could it be true that so many of our problems are us having a tantrum, and refusing to acknowledge the helping hand?It is time for us to learn to let go, to surrender our way, to move towards each other without the stress and anxieties, not with thoughts of what we will lose but thoughts of what we could gain.
How? Well it starts daily in our relationships. Is there a tantrum going on in some way right now, something we are holding on to being right about in our health, or wealth or communication with someone? Would we be willing to make equality and sharing more important than our tantrum, and let it go?
Let go and let love, as they say . . .