It has been awhile since I blogged. Sometimes life gets too busy that it is difficult to satisfy everything, even when you are good at multitasking. I am not making excuses for being absent for awhile, though.
Today, I had some thoughts in my mind and I want to share. My thoughts are centred on letting go. Indeed, it is difficult to let go of things – for example people, or situations, or experiences, or problems, or challenges, or past events. I guess at this point the relevant question to ask is why? Why is it always hard to let go? A woman, who is heartbroken in a long relationship, finds it hard to let the man go, why? A man, who feels that his world has crumbled because he lost huge amount of money in an investment cannot let go of that money, why? A guy just lost a job and he finds it hard to let go of the feeling of frustration, why? A girl has just been dumped by her boyfriend and she cries profusely all the time because she cannot let go, why? A boy just expressed his love to a girl but the girl did not reciprocate; hence the boy’s heart is shattered and he cannot let go, why? A student, who performed below his/her expectation, finds it hard to let go, why? Parents, who have spent a lot of money sending their kid abroad to study only for the kid to go abroad and become a drug dealer, cannot let go that their beloved kid is in jail, why? You failed to get that promotion, which you have waited for so long, now you cannot let go, why? It’s been years since your partner broke up with you, yet you cannot let go, why? It’s been years since your pet dog or cat died, yet you cannot let go, why? There are litanies of questions of similar nature to these ones highlighted above. They are in-exhaustive.
It is difficult to pin down reason(s) why it is often hard to let go. However, I think letting go is hard for two reasons.
The first is the mental character that we create in our (sub)conscious mind. We may be conscious or unconscious of the fact that we create this character. For example, this character may be pain or regret or disgrace or fear or some sort of feeling that we can give a name to. There is sense of identity that comes with creating this character. This identity is something that enables us to sustain the character that we create in our (sub)conscious mind over time. For example, when we recycle the pain from losing a loved one, or the regret from an unrequited love, or the disgrace from being involved in a scandal, or the fear of not knowing what tomorrow brings, we sustain these characters in our minds because of something that we think they remind us of; something that we believe that nobody else can see or understand except us. That is the identity, and it is this identity that isolates us from other people. Eckhart Tolle, in his book, The power of now: a guide to spiritual enlightenment, argues that we create pains that we allow to fester for too long and that is because of the sense of identity that we give to them.
The second is the attachment that we give to the character. We recycle our pains or regrets or disgrace or fear because we have become attached to them and that makes it extremely hard to let go. In recognition of the significance of our attachment to the character that we create, Jafree Oswald once said that “all suffering is caused either by an attachment to a positive outcome or an avoidance of a negative one”. This thus speaks volumes about why we cling tenaciously to past events in our lives that we cannot let them go. Often times we are caught up in the box where we recount in our minds the past events in our lives. By doing that we allow the character of pain or regret or disgrace or fear that we create in our minds to control our actions of today. This is because we often think that our attachment to the past events in our lives will enable us to change things today for a better tomorrow. But we end up using the past to frustrate today and make tomorrow worthless.
In my eBook titled Speaking from the mind: unconventional thoughts, I noted that “life is a journey and there are challenges on the way” and as such “life will always bring experiences that make it hard to live…” I think Lori Deschene, the founder of Tiny Buddha and author of Tinny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal, agrees with me when she said that “there will never be a time when life is simple. There will always be time to practice accepting that. Every moment is a chance to let go and feel peaceful”. I think Lori is absolutely right and her view is supported by Ajahn Chah, an influential teacher of the Buddhadhamma, who once said that “if you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace”.
To conclude, Lori Deschene identified 40 ways of letting go, which she categorised into four: (a) Let go of frustration with yourself/your life (for example, learning new skills, changing your perceptions; crying out); (b) Let go of anger and bitterness (for example, feeling it fully, giving yourself a rant window; taking responsibility); (c) Let go of past relationships (for example, identifying lessons from your experience; un-romanticising your view about love; creating a space that reflects your present reality); (d) and Let go of stress (for example, using a deep breathing technique; immersing yourself in a group activity; replacing your thoughts). Pamela Dussault, also, noted that “the letting go process can feel heavy…” For her, the process starts with “removing any personal blocks to your success”. She identified these personal blocks as: (a) misunderstanding of love; (b) your ego; (c) emotional misunderstanding; (d) and lack of trust.