Approaching the later years of life, I realise more and more that life is all about letting go. We spend the first part of life building up an ego, a bank of experiences, attitudes, habits, patterns of behaviour, traumas, relationships, material things. Over the second half of life, essentially we have to let go of our attachment to all of these, as we go through the process of preparing for our approaching death. If we do not, the ego dies with the sudden traumatic loss of all those attachments – surely the reason why death is so feared by many.
Why do I come up with this theme at this point in time? Because I have been touched by the experiences of those going through this very process, suffering illness, problems with memory, suffering from attachment to past relationships, suffering from anger, suffering from stress ‘because of’ the behaviour of others…
Of course, Letting Go is not just about dying, it’s about living life in the present, here and now, unencumbered by the past. This is the essence of life.
A little bit of web research came up with the following useful links.
In this post, Paula Stephens gives a Buddhist perspective on Letting Go – for this is an essential Buddhist teaching. Letting go of attachments is a necessary precursor to Presence – living in the present moment.
“Don’t let the darkness from your past block the light of joy in your present. What happened is done. Stop giving time to things which no longer exist, when there is so much joy to be found here and now.” ~Karen Salmansohn
Jack Kornfeld points out that the question of Letting Go is at the heart of spiritual practice, and compassion, forgiveness, grace are its handmaidens:
“These simple questions go to the very center of spiritual life. When we consider loving well and living fully, we can see the ways our attachments and fears have limited us, and we can see the many opportunities for our hearts to open. Have we let ourselves love the people around us, our family, our community, the earth upon which we live? And, did we also learn to let go? Did we learn to live through the changes of life with grace, wisdom, and compassion? Have we learned to forgive and live from the spirit of the heart instead of the spirit of judgment?”
I particularly like this post by LonerWolf on 42 Powerful Ways of Letting Go – full of examples and techniques for letting go. You will probably find your own bugbears within this list; we each have our own cross to bear. The material is grouped under the following headings, so something there is probably relevant for any reader:
- letting go of anger,
- letting go of anxiety and stress,
- letting go of toxic relationships,
- letting go of frustration and impatience,
- letting go of depression and grief.
This post also gives sixty quotes related to Letting Go. Here are a couple with particular meaning for me.
“In the process of letting go you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself.” – Deepak Chopra
“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.” – Steve Maraboli
Letting Go – essential for the good life and for the good death.