Letting Go

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.

12 thoughts on “Letting Go

  1. Living in the present is actually very freeing, it’s a way to unburden your mind and heart of people and situations that are forever gone. It is work, but I found it brings enormous peace and tranquility. My “mentor” is Eckhart Tolle, he is a master at living in the now, what I learned from him also helped when family members passed away. Wonderful post, Barry, one area where most humans won’t go is their own death, but when you’re present and acknowledge it, there’s nothing scary about it.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I’m reminded of words I heard at one of the psychosynthesis trainings I did in the late 80s/early 90s -“Hold on tightly, let go lightly” and think I only partially understood it at the time. But of course, yes, the letting go is empowering, as it’s the moment of freedom, whereas the holding on tightly is like choosing to stay with the shackles which bind. I like that second quote by Steve Maraboli; forgiveness is a key feature in moving on.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, Roberto Assagioli’s Psychosynthesis is a true spiritually based teaching and gives good guidance for living…
      And forgiveness is often the key; if we cannot forgive we cannot move on.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you !
    Pour le botaniste “Le lâcher prise” est synonyme d’huile essentielle de pruche du Canada.
    As botanist “Letting go” means Canadian hemlock essential oil.
    Tsuga canadensis (Linnaeus) = Eastern hemlock = Canadian hemlock
    Specific indications of essential oil (aromatherapy) in olfaction or touch-massage to accompany people at the end of life, soothe and facilitate the letting go of patients in palliative care.

    [Translation:
    As botanist “Letting go” means Canadian hemlock essential oil.
    Tsuga canadensis (Linnaeus) = Eastern hemlock = Canadian hemlock
    Specific indications of essential oil (aromatherapy) in olfaction or touch-massage to accompany people at the end of life, soothe and facilitate the letting go of patients in palliative care.]

    https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pruche_du_Canada
    https://www.the-forest-time.com/fr/guide-des-essences/pruche-du-canada-979200448

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “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. What a wonderful reminder! Thank you for sharing this with us today.

    Liked by 2 people

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