How many times in your life have you heard the phrase, “Just let it go”?
This is definitely one of my biggest struggles. As I meditate on the idea of letting go, I realize that I do not truly understand the nature of attachment. Why is it that I have such a hard time letting go? Of an old argument, an insult, an ex, childhood drama? To what am I truly attached?
It’s certainly not the person, subject, or words long since gone. No, what’s so hard to let go of is the idea of being right. When we “let it go,” we’re relinquishing control.
The thing is, we don’t control anything. We learn how things work and how to work with them to achieve desired results. We can collaborate or we can manipulate, but we can never actually control.
Attachment is the illusion of control. It is the projection of our ego onto something or someone else. We attach to our identities, which we create by defining truths about ourselves and the worlds we live in. To be attached to something is to believe that our perception of it is correct and its behavior will not upset the life we have built upon our understanding.
Attachment is a state of mind, not a physical truth.
You’re attached to your job, but what when you get fired 3 years away from retirement? You’re attached to your family, but what when your spouse dies unexpectedly? You are attached to your home, but what when your house is demolished in a natural disaster? You’re attached to your health, but what when you suffer a stroke and lose the use of your arm? These are extreme examples.
More often, our attachment is challenged in smaller ways. Maybe your child does something that conflicts with your values. Maybe your husband suddenly wants to make a big career change. Maybe the store is out of skim milk and you have to buy 2%.
The source of our suffering in these situations is not the person or the event or even the loss itself. We suffer because we are attached to a certain way of being.
We are happier when we let go.
But what is letting go, exactly? It’s certainly not this passive thing that just happens. No, letting go is a choice; it is an act. To let go is to practice surrender.
The word surrender brings up two definitions for me. The first is the raising of the white flag—to admit defeat in battle. The other is what I learned from my early years in Christianity—to give everything over to God.
I know now that they are the same thing.
When we struggle against the natural design, we will always be defeated. No matter how hard we fight, we cannot win if we are acting outside the will of the Divine.
We will be rejected by people, places, situations that are not right for us. The wrong job will suck the life out of us. We will dread going home to someone else’s true love.
When we are in a bad situation, we often fear that the alternative would be even worse. We cannot imagine a better life so we stay put, all the while our physical, emotional, and mental well-being disintegrates. This is the wrong kind of surrender.
Surrender is not the resignation and acceptance of disappointment. Surrender is the marriage of our personal wills with the will of God. Surrender is collaboration.
The book of Genesis says God made humanity in His image. Science says everything is vibrating energy. These are two ways of saying the same thing.
Everything in existence is the manifestation of the Divine. We are the Universe creating itself. That is why our personal will and the will of God are identical. We are of God and we are in God.
In yoga, a practice ends with the valediction “Namaste,” which means roughly “the God in me bows to the God in you.” Before we acknowledge mutual divinity though, we must surrender by practicing the integral pose of Savasana.
Also known as “corpse pose,” Savasana is the posture of surrender, of letting go. The entire body relaxes. Down to the tiny muscles we aren’t even aware of–the forehead, the muscles behind the eyes, the tongue, the throat–everything releases tension and melts. Then the mind follows. In this state, the yogi consciously recognizes the state we are always unconsciously in: union with God/Source Energy.
The idea of surrender is frightening because we fear losing our sense of self. However, the opposite is what actually happens. When we surrender, we find we are more than we ever imagined. We are still ourselves, and we are also Divine.