I like the concept of letting go. It’s mostly where I find joy, calm, peace and purpose. It’s so much easier than chasing. And so much more effective. Rather than chasing happiness, the Buddhist philosophy suggests that we simply choose to let go of that which makes us unhappy. The very notion of chasing something has a sense of urgency about it, doesn’t it? And, of course, with urgency comes anxiety. And with anxiety comes illness. And with illness comes unhappiness.
Maybe our gentle robe-wearing friends are on to something. Some people spend their lives chasing acceptance and approval. Perhaps it’s time for some of us to let go of the need to seek the acceptance, approval and even permission of others? Perhaps we’re good enough all by ourselves? Perhaps we should stop giving away our power? Perhaps in the letting go we’ll find the only acceptance we need: self-acceptance. Some will spend their lives chasing physical perfection. I have some expertise in this area. While it’s great to be in shape, it’s not great when our confidence, self-esteem and sense of self are dependant on our physical appearance.
Considering that we spend most of our lives in a slowly deteriorating physical shell, this pursuit is an exercise in frustration. This desire for physical perfection arises out of fear. Fear of not being pretty enough. Good enough. Desirable enough. And, of course, fear is at the root of unhappiness. Some will spend their lives chasing financial wealth, only to wake up one day and discover that all they’ve created is emotional and spiritual poverty. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being wealthy, except when that wealth defines us. If only we taught our kids (and ourselves) that being rich has nothing to do with money or material possessions. Some of us have spent years (and years) trying to ‘find’ ourselves.
Maybe it’s time to stop looking and simply let go of everything that isn’t us? When I let go of everything I am trying to do, be, create and own, there I am. And while I might do, be, create and own much in my life, I am none of those things and they are not me. I can’t be found in things. And neither can you.
What do you need to let go of?