Unhappiness = Clinging on! Happiness = Letting go!!
At a grocery store the other day a friend tapped me from behind. We exchanged greetings and generally caught up. He then went on to say that while he found my daily blogposts “interesting” he “seriously doubted if it was indeed possible to live the way Vaani and I are living”. “How can you live in a let-go, when you have a problem to solve, a situation to fix, responsibilities to discharge and especially when you know you are intelligent, capable and driven,” he asked.
This is not a new question. I used to ask myself this question until some years ago. And people often ask me this question at my Talks or workshops.
The simplest way to live in a let-go is to understand that Life does not happen because of us. It happens inspite of us. Just because we have got ourselves an academic education, we are skilled, we are ethical and sincere, and we are earning an income, we imagine that we are in control. No we are not. We never were. Life has been and will always be in control. So, let-go really means to go with the flow of Life.
Now, when Life happens to a plan that you have conceived you think you are in control. Fair enough. But ever so often Life will change, in such a manner that you will be reminded of and made to realize that you are not in control. You can fight it and resist it, but unless you accept the Life you have and unless you flow with it, you will feel miserable.
I talk from personal experience. For almost close to a decade now, we are trying to fix our business situation with no progress. I have a health condition that requires surgery but we don’t have the means just yet. Every material aspect of our Life requires mending in some form or the other – human beings can survive a bankruptcy, we realize, things cannot! So when we examine our Life closely, Vaani and I see so many, many, many dimensions that are beyond our control. And yet Life just goes on – whatever we need always finds its way to us. Incredibly, miraculously! The best way to live, therefore, we have learnt, is to live in a perpetual let-go.
Yet living in a let-go is not inaction. It means living in total acceptance, living in faith that you will be taken care of and provided for no matter what the circumstances are, living in gratitude, and living fully, making a sincere effort even when the results are not adding up. Now, that’s a lot of action!
Living in a let-go does not require any practice or preparation. To be sure, anyone can live this way. It just requires an understanding and acceptance of the impermanence of Life. It requires living with humility, acknowledging that Life is more intelligent and more powerful than you. Think deeply. Your frustrations come only from your subconscious desire to be in control of everything you have and of everyone you know. In a way, you don’t want your things or your people to be taken away from you. Technology has only made you seek more of instant gratification. If something is broken, it needs a fix immediately. If something is not working out, you agonize over getting it to work instantly. If you lose something, or someone, you grieve over that loss endlessly. But there are times in Life when fixes won’t work, won’t be available and when you will have to wait endlessly till they arrive! In such situations you will end up being unhappy. Happiness, on the other hand, really is about getting rid of – letting go – whatever you don’t have, isn’t there, can’t fix or have not got. You are unhappy only as long as you cling on to something.
This is as true about our material assets as it is about our relationships and our emotions. When we get rid of the thought, the expectation, that something, or someone for that matter, should always be with us, we will be free. And happy. So being in a let-go is really about celebrating impermanence. Life’s most well-kept secret is this – as long as you are not clinging on to anyone or anything, you will not suffer!
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