Letting go

Personal growth and so much of self-realisation is not about acquiring new things but rather about letting go of old things which no longer serve us.  Although there are clearly new things to be learnt, growth is mostly learning about unlearning.

Suffering arises out of ignorance as to the true nature of things and the aversion and grasping this ignorance creates. The ignorance I refer to are the harmful perceptions, mental models and beliefs which we confuse with reality.

We are all the sum of our experiences, influences, childhoods, traumas and social influences. We all have an interior narrative which we use to explain and to make sense of our lives. We have all learnt strategies to get us through life. We have all learnt to focus on some things and ignore others. In other words, on what to grasp and what to avoid. Most of these choices and strategies were made unconsciously, reacting to our childhood environment and driven by our biological imperative: to survive.

Our default position in life is mindless which means that we mostly act unconsciously and on autopilot: Something happens in the physical world and we experience a moment of consciousness and awareness which immediately connects with labels, judgements and beliefs from our past, triggering a reaction. Rather than reacting to events in the present moment, we react to a mental model made in the past in a context which no longer exists and which is probably no longer relevant. Also, most of the labels and behaviours in themselves were acquired unconsciously.

The narrative we each carry in our heads is an unconscious inheritance rather than a conscious choice. In fact, we are so used to our narrative and we identify so much with our thoughts that, although we believe that we are interacting with reality, we are usually not.

Knowing this, doesn’t it makes sense to choose consciously? To develop a narrative which serves you better, to identify and understand the misapprehensions in your perception, the errors in your models and to correct them. When you let go of the things that do not serve you, you also make room for the things that do serve you.

Having said all of that, letting go can feel difficult, weird and uncomfortable even when we let go of something that we know is causing us harm.  You might need to let go of a relationship, job or habit/behaviour. You may have been thinking about it for months. It is something that you can see, or that you at least suspect, is no good for you. It is something that leaves you feeling drained and tired, taking joy or peace from your life. It also probably causes pain and confusion. In spite of all that, you are strangely comfortable with the situation; at least you know what to expect; at least you know your place. You might be unhappy but at least you are comfortable in this familiar role.

The unknown, what might happen if you let go and step out of your comfort zone is something that you will never know until you do it. This life is not a rehearsal. You get one chance and that is it.  If you want peace in your heart, if you want to feel authentic joy then choose growth over stagnation; step out of that precious comfort zone and into the unknown. Your peace, your joy, your connection with everything lies outside your comfort zone and is on the other side of what makes you uncomfortable.

Peace health and happiness from Las Bardas.

 

 

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