You need to be peaceful to face Life and to last the journey. Inner peace comes from letting go.
A couple came to me to talk about their child. He’s 17 and has been on drugs for over a couple of years now. They have tried counselling him. They have tried changing his school. They have sent him to rehab. But the boy simply finds a way back into the circle that got him hooked on in the first place. In yet another attempt to wean him off the habit, they have moved him to a residential school in another city. They looked beaten and battered to me. Naturally. They wanted to understand if they had failed as parents or if there was anything more they needed to do. I could feel their pain and anguish. They have been exceptional parents: they have been understanding, they have been proactive and they have been decisive at every step. So, I advised them to stop feeling guilty. Honestly, there’s nothing more they can do for their child. They have done everything that’s practical and possible. So I said, “Just let go and let Life take over. If you believe in prayer, pray. If you don’t want to or don’t believe in prayer, just let Life happen…you go with the flow.”
The father of the boy asked: “Doesn’t letting go mean we are ‘washing our hands off him’?”
I totally understood where the man was coming from. People often think letting go means abdicating. So I clarified that letting go does not mean getting rid of a problem or situation or person. It is surely not inaction. Letting go is about practicing detachment, so that you preserve your inner peace, when you have tried your best and have been unable to solve a Life situation. Letting go is about surrendering to Life. It is about you telling Life that you acknowledge that Life is the Higher Energy. It is about confessing that you are clueless and powerless. And it is about offering yourself to be led by Life.
Seriously, consider the couple’s situation. If you had been in their shoes, you too would have done all that they have done. And then what else would you have done? What else can you do when all that you have done is not producing results? The boy has to turn around. Or, he will just stay trapped in the ruinous habit. When he refuses to see reason, what else can you do other than trusting Life?
You must understand that there are only two kinds of problem situations in Life. Those that you can solve and those that, no matter how hard you try, you simply cannot solve. These are problems that Life solves, on its own, at its own pace, over time. Now, for those situations or problems that you can solve, you don’t need to worry. While logically you don’t need to worry about situations that you can’t solve either, your mind will force you to worry about them. So, instead of letting go and surrendering to Life, you keep fighting the situations imagining that you are trying to solve them! This is how you create suffering and invite misery into your Life!
Intelligent living is not about applying your intellect to Life. It is about being intelligent enough to know that you must let go when you can’t solve a problem situation! All our scriptures talk of the concept of surrender. In Hinduism it is called saranagati. It basically means being in a let-go! But because the wisdom of the scriptures are often expressed through religion, which currently is practised very divisively and needlessly ritualistically, it ends up alienating even those people who may be willing to give the concept of total surrender, of let go, a chance.
Surrendering to Life involves letting go of your ego. It is the state when you realize that you can’t solve a problem or crisis! You are then willing to go with the flow of Life. Even then your Life’s problems may not get solved immediately. But, importantly, you are not fighting them anymore. And when you are not fighting, when you are not resisting, you are always peaceful. It is only through inner peace that you develop the resilience to face Life and to last any long, crisis-ridden, journey!