Understanding ‘letting go’

Letting go is not difficult. It is deciding to let go that is difficult. So, here’s a simple perspective on what it takes to let go!
When we try to control anything, we experience satisfaction and triumph in the short-term, but we are struggling with pain and suffering in the long-term. When we let go, there’s pain initially, but joy and bliss abound in the long-term. This applies to opinions, money, relationships, children, careers and any challenging situation in Life.
The luckless rescue operation to save Thimanna (inset)
Picture Courtesy: Internet
I read a story in the papers last week of a farmer in Karnataka, Hanumanthappa Hatti, who had to take a heart-wrenching decision to let go. Hatti’s six-year-old son Thimanna had fallen into an abandoned borewell in their farm in Bagalkot. After three days of hectic rescue operations, Hatti pleaded with the district government officials to stop the rescue mission. Already a 75 ft trench had been dug to reach Thimanna who was believed to be stuck at 160 ft in the 300 ft-deep borewell. To reach the boy, the rescue mission team had decided to dig further, in an-L shape, even as almost everyone gave very little chance for the boy to emerge alive. Oxygen levels in the borewell beyond a certain point were nil, and at 160 ft, the chances of survival after three days was nil too. It was at this time that Hatti made the decision. He said already three lakh cubic metres of mud had been hauled out from the borewell. To fill the borewell back and reclaim his sugarcane crop will already require a humungous financial outlay – which was beyond Hatti’s means. If they were to dig further, Hatti reasoned, his costs would only go up with no chance of finding his boy alive. “I won’t get back my son alive after all this that is being done. I should at least save my land for the future of my two daughters,” he told reporters at his farm.
Hatti’s is a classic case of letting go – complete with the difficulty involved in making that crucial decision. Letting go is not about giving up. It is about accepting that there are some things in Life that simply cannot be.
The desire to control is an ego-based response. It represents a view within us, however subconscious it may be, that we are causing_and will want to continue to cause__things to happen the way they are. The decision to let go, is a spiritual decision, made in acceptance of and in surrender to a Higher Energy. When we let go, we feel a pain, an initial ache, but we also feel good. We feel a sense of relief, just the opposite of how we felt while we were clinging on to that situation__fighting, agonizing, suffering. Mitch Albom, the author of the beautiful book, ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’, awakens us to a new perspective: “Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you are not losing it, you are just passing it on to someone else.”
What a wonderful way to inspire all of us to let go. So, the choice is with us. Within us. To control or to let go. Let go, because you and I are mere voyagers, who came with nothing and will go with nothing. We will have led a meaningful Life if it can epitomize love and peace. By letting go, as the struggle within us ceases, we will become love and peace!

When awareness comes, anxiety goes

A friend wrote to me saying “I am always anxious. Of something or the other. I am not sure it is right or wrong. But I don’t enjoy it one bit!”

How can anyone enjoy being in a continuous state of tension? Anxiety is nothing but being in a tense state – tense about things, people, events, situations, kids, work, commute, traffic, almost everything! To be sure, anxiety has become a part of our everyday living. And that’s primarily because the mind unfailingly magnifies our anxieties. So my friend is not alone.

Is there a way out? Indeed. Awareness can rid us of anxiety.

The human mind is like a freeway. Hundreds of thousands of thoughts, like vehicles on a freeway, make their way through the mind. Every thought need not be a call to action. But because of this notion that you are supreme, you are the center of your Universe, you jump at every thought. We used to have a pet at home years ago, a smart Doberman called Ashley. His ears would perk up if he heard the slightest sounds on the street. I can only think of all of us behaving like Ashley in response to every thought that makes its way through the mind. The anxious human mind is like a scared rabbit – it is forever scurrying in different directions! Responding to several zillion, irrelevant calls to action!

Your anxieties are actually evidence that you are not anchored within. And that’s because your reference points are all outside. For instance – Who’s saying what about you to whom? What will people think of me now? What if my kids don’t turn out like other kids their age? What if people think I am not smart, not handsome, not beautiful, not intelligent, not wealthy – whatever? Anxiety is not just a feeling. It is who you are. It is a reflection of your continuous desire to become something rather than simply be.

Such thinking makes Life miserable. Because we are being driven by desire. Besides, when we think of external reference points we are limiting ourselves. We are not seeing our whole potential. In worrying about wanting to become something that we are not, we are missing what we already are. In Tuesdays with Morrie (by Mitch Albom), Morrie tells the story of two waves in the ocean. The wave in the front tells the one following it that it is frightened because it is about to crash into the shore and cease to exist. But the second wave shows no fear. It explains to the one ahead: “You are frightened because you think you are a wave; I am not frightened because I know I am part of the ocean!”

Our anxieties are an impediment to our living in bliss! Once we become aware of our true nature, of who we really are, we will be free. Awareness will then replace anxiety. And then, like the second wave, we will realize that no matter how many times we crash on the shore, and stop being a wave, we will still celebrate being part of the ocean!