Letting go is… Letting go of a thought


I’ve been thinking quite often about the tragic events at Sandy Hook school recently and, to be honest, it has affected me, no doubt just like everyone else. It’s brought up a lot of conflicting feelings within me, which have affected my Present. Then today I opened the book ‘Embracing the Now‘ up randomly and found wisdom and enlightenment in what I read. In the passage, the author Gina Lake says this:

Letting go seems to difficult at times, but whatever we are trying to let go of is already gone. It’s in the past, and life has moved on and is bringing something else. all that is ever really left to let go of are our thoughts about something in the past. Letting go naturally happens when we are just here right now, in the moment. The Now is free of the past, unless we bring the past into the Now through thought.

Thought is the only thing that can disturb the peace and contentment of the Now. Even a shocking event is here only briefly and then gone. The only way a terrible event lives on is through thoughts about it. We may be dealing with the effects of such an event for a while but the loss itself is over. Every moment provides plenty of resources for dealing with the effects of loss, and those resources will be much more accessible if we aren’t caught up in negative thoughts and feelings about the past.

We can’t control what thoughts come up in our mind, and when there has been a loss, thoughts about the loss are bound to come up. However, we can control how much time we spend with these thoughts. The difference between heaven and hell is largely a matter of how much time we spend dwelling on thoughts about the past.

We dwell on such thoughts because we think it serves us in some way. Through thought we try to fix or rewrite the past (If only…), we create a story about the past to defend or punish ourselves, or we analyse the past to try to prevent certain events from happening again. But none of these strategies changes the past or helps us cope with what happened. They are the ego’s strategies, which are designed to make it look good, make others look bad, keep it safe, or justify its existence  But the ego’s goals aren’t worthwhile or a good use of our energy. Thoughts about the past that attempt to fix it or keep it alive just aren’t useful, and they keep us from noticing what life is bringing us in the present moment.

Life gives and it takes away in equal measure. The cycle of birth and death is natural and not wrong, as the ego assumes. What passes is meant to pass. It’s gone and the situation can’t be different. Nothing can change the past, including thought. However, dwelling on our thoughts about the past does change our experience of the present moment. When we drag the past into the present, everything that belongs in the Now is marginalised and overlooked. All we see is the past, or more accurately, our story about it.

All we can ever have of the past is our story about it, and that story is very unsatisfying. Our stories about the past don’t feed our soul like the Now does. And worse, any story is usually a sad tale that keeps us caught up in negative feelings, and then those feelings become our experience of life.

These negative feelings are unnecessary. When we turn our attention to what is here right now and away from the past, negative feelings cannot be maintained. They disappear. no one can maintain negative feelings indefinitely. No matter how depressed, angry, or hurt we are, we eventually drop into Essence and stop feeling those feelings. Having negative feelings is exhausting. Often through sheer exhaustion, we drop into Essence and find relief from our feelings.

Letting go is difficult because that seems to require letting go of what we love. But letting go isn’t about letting go of our love for whomever, or whatever we’ve lost. Love is eternal, and our love continues. Our love is what we have left of what we have lost. Letting go of the person, experience, or thing has actually already happened because he, she, or it has already gone. There was no other choice or possibility but to let it go. all that is actually left to let go of is our desire for the situation to be different.

Letting go of the desire for things to be different is not so difficult when we see that life simply can’t be different than it is. Seeing the truth renders the desire for things to be different useless. All we have to let go of is our belief that things can or should be different than they are. They can’t. Accepting this makes letting go of the the desire for things to be different possible. Letting go naturally follows from allowing life to be the way it is, from accepting that life is as it is. Acceptance is actually the only sane choice because to do otherwise is to create tremendous suffering for ourselves and others, which life allows us to do, of course. But that suffering serves no one.

The good news is that the desire for life to be different than it is, is just a thought. No matter how powerful a desire may seem to be, desire is just a thought, and thoughts can be ignored. We are much more powerful than any thought or desire. We have the power to choose to feed a desire with more thoughts, which results in feelings, or to turn our attention to something else, to what is going on in the Now. Turning our attention to anything other than the desire for things to be different transforms our experience of the moment. Suffering disappears.

The Now has everything we need to be happy if we don’t bring any demands into it for it to be different. Doing that isn’t necessarily easy, but suffering isn’t easy either. This is proof that goodness is behind all life and that life is leading us toward greater peace, love and happiness, no matter what happens.

Source: Embracing the Now: Finding peace and happiness in what is by Gina Lake



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