The more I stay out of my good-thought/bad-thought routine, the more I’m able to just be with it.
I love to observe the instant without any judgment. Birds simply allow whatever comes their way, no matter if the wind picks up or the rain comes, and I work at being like one of those fabulous creatures. The way I do so is to ask myself this question: “What’s happening right here and right now, independent of my opinion about it?” Then I notice all that I can take in—the sky, the wind, the sounds, the light, the insects, the temperature, the people, the judgments…everything. I stay free of opinions and just let myself be. In these moments, I don’t need an excuse or an explanation for anything.
Even while I sit here and write, I’m practicing being present and simply allowing the words to flow though my heart to my hand and onto the page with a total absence of judgment. And when I eat my lunch, I work at just being present in a state of gratitude for my food and the experience of eating, rather than using those moments to think about all that I have to do in the evening or passing judgment on the taste, color, or smell of my lunch experience. I try to keep in mind that whenever I react against any form that life takes in the present moment, I’m treating the now as some kind of impediment or even as my enemy.
As a child you knew how to be totally present. I encourage you to become an observer of little unspoiled children.
Notice how they don’t react to every little disturbance in their world and how they’re in the moment, and then in the next moment, and so on. You can use this kind of non-judgment to practice your new explanation-free identity. Total immersion in the present, without judging—that is, simply allowing yourself to be—is a great way to rid yourself of these long-held thinking habits that I’m calling “excuses.”
Be without judgment and you’ll never feel the need for some tiresome excuse to use up your precious seconds, such as “I’m too old” or “It will take a long time” or “It will be too difficult.” Instead, you’ll be in the now, welcoming your constant present-moment companion, your Source of being, which knows nothing of excuses and doesn’t know how to be anyplace but here, now. As one of my spiritual predecessors, Dale Carnegie, once wrote: “One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon—instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.”
Become one in the present moment with all of the roses that show up in your life. Stay present: every second, every minute and every hour. Every day of your life is full of present moments of infinite value. You won’t find God yesterday or tomorrow—your Source is always only here, now.
Imagine a world where all the people have let go of their old baggage – past conditioning, limiting programming, judgments and resentments – and they are light, loving, accepting and joyful.
Imagine the connection between people and the synergy within groups, communities and nations.Letting go involves releasing the past and starting fresh in the present moment. It means trusting that you are more than your roles, beliefs and stories.
Many are reluctant to let go because they fear they will have nothing justify. They cling to problems, unhealthy situations, and outworn roles and relationships because it feels safe in its familiarity. They don’t know who they are underneath. They haven’t experienced their true, authentic Self bursting with energy, waiting to express its true nature in the world.
So how does one touch into this state of freedom where they can be themselves, uninhibited, light and joyful?
By letting go, bit by bit. By first noticing where they hold on, where they resist and where they struggle and then slowly, gently, releasing the hold and embracing what’s underneath.
Get into the habit of letting go of stress, tension, problems, the past, resentments, false beliefs and anything that limits you from feeling free in life.
Letting Go Practices
♦ Focus on simply letting go of your breath.
Let your breath fill your lungs naturally and then focus on the breath leaving your lungs. Notice the release, feel the relief. Notice how naturally your lungs refill. Letting go of your breath doesn’t mean you stop breathing, it allows life to continue flowing.
♦ Let go of stress and tension.
Notice any tension in your body – where are you holding? Simply let go of holding and watch the tension release. Scan your whole body to find another place where you are holding and continue letting go until your whole body is relaxed.
♦ Let go of thinking.
Listen to your thoughts and then let them go. Watch as they arise, let them pass through, and then tune into the spaciousness that surrounds them and the stillness behind them.
♦ Let go of resentments.
Carrying resentments around is like carrying someone else’s baggage on your back. If there’s nothing useful for you in the luggage, why carry it around? Notice any judgments or resentments you have towards yourself or others and imagine placing them on the ground. Feel the relief from doing this. Now imagine walking away into freedom.
♦ Let go of old stories.
What stories do you keep retelling that locks you into repeating them in your life? Be willing to explore the depth and expansiveness of who you are underneath past roles and stories. Imagine taking them off like a piece of clothing or stepping out and away from them like leaving a room. Tune into who you are without your stories.
♦ Let go of limiting beliefs.
What beliefs hold you back from expressing yourself and living your life freely? Bring them to your awareness so you can let them go. Dig deep into the core beliefs such as not being good enough, not having love, not being big enough and so on. Look at these beliefs and know they are just untrue messages in your space. Be willing to release them and discover your truth underneath.
As you practice letting go your body will be more energized, your mind more peaceful and your soul free to shine through and light your way in life.
Are you ready to let go?
by David Richo, PhD –
When things change and end, we become trusting of the cycles of life as steps to evolutionary growth. Yes alleviates our suffering by freeing us from clinging to anything at all. When things do not go according to our plans, we stretch our potential for trusting a power beyond our ego. Our ego’s futile and ferocious attempts to make everything come out its own way give way to letting the chips fall where they may. Yes frees us from the suffering caused by the compulsion to be in charge.
When things are not fair, we evoke our potential to act fairly no matter what. This means trusting a power beyond our ego, with all its insistence on retaliation and its petulant demands for equity. A yes to this third given frees us from the suffering that happens when we are caught up in getting back at people and when we hold grudges. When pain enters our life, we activate our potential for facing it without complaint, and we gain compassion for others who also suffer. A yes to this fourth given frees us from the suffering that comes from useless protest. When people are not loyal or loving toward us, we enliven our potential for unconditional love. A yes frees us from the suffering caused by our need to hurt or reject those who have disappointed us.
Fear is a no to what is. To fear the givens is to be afraid of life, since they are its components. Fear prevents us from experiencing life fully and living in the moment by creating avoidance and attraction. We avoid what is unpleasant and we grasp at whatever makes us feel good. The Buddhist tradition encourages us to take a middle path. The chart below shows the work that installs us in this “golden mean,” as the ancient Romans called it.
Things change and end.
Things don’t always go according to plan.
Things are not always fair.
Pain is part of life.
People are not loving and loyal all the time.
Each of these conditions of existence equips us with a handy skill. Since it is a given that people leave us, it becomes a given that we will be alone, so it is wise to plan for that by becoming comfortable being by ourselves right now. Since it is a given that things do not always go according to plan, it is a given that we will be disappointed, so it is wise to become comfortable with fewer expectations. Since it is a given that things are not always fair, it is a given that we will occasionally feel cheated, so it is wise to become comfortable with grieving losses, with working for justice, and with letting go of the urge to retaliate. Since it is a given that pain is part of life, it is a given that we will do best to become comfortable with bearing it and growing because of it. Since it is a given that people are not always loyal and loving, it is wise to let go of censure and become committed to loving-kindness no matter how others may treat us.
Yes to life’s givens thus combines defenselessness with resourcefulness. Yes means we are open to the events that befall us, defenseless in the face of them. At the same time, we are not bowled over by what happens to us. We are resourceful in dealing with them; we do all we can to handle the givens we face. Then we let the chips fall where they may. Soon we pick them up one by one and place our bets again.
There is a vitality in us, a sparkle—a bonfire, actually—that cannot be extinguished by any tragedy. Something in us, an urge toward wholeness, a passion for evolving, makes us go on, start over, not give up, not give in. To accept the things we cannot change does not mean that we roll over but that we roll on. Openness and creative resourcefulness happen synchronously each time we are confronted with one of the givens. Some people write their best poems when they suffer.
The practice of an unconditional yes is the heart of the ancient spiritual tradition of Taoism. Wu wei is a Taoist term meaning to go with the flow of things as they are. This reduces the friction and stress that arise when we resist reality as it wants to happen. In my view, the ancient spiritual teachings and practices of Taoism form a technology of cultivating an unconditional yes to life’s givens.
The Taoist teacher Han Hung wrote, “The biggest risk is to trust that these conditions are all that we need to be ourselves.” This is a profound realization of the connection between our unconditional yes and our trust that the conditions of existence are precisely what we need for personal growth and fulfillment. The givens of life show us who we really are and help us be the best we can be:
• Only in changes and endings do we find out how we hold on or let go.
• Only in failed plans do we find out about a larger plan afoot that has our best interests at heart, trusting the heartfulness of the universe and discovering our spiritual potential.
• Only when things are not fair do we find our dark side, which seeks retaliation, or our kindly side, which looks for restoration and lets go if it cannot happen.
• Only when we suffer do we find our courage and our depth and learn compassion for others’ suffering.
• Only when others are disloyal and unloving do we find out if we can really love unconditionally.
An unconditional yes is a spiritual victory. There are spiritual practices that help us reach it. These practices make it easier to live with our givens instead of against them.
A useful practice is to see all the events of our lives and all the conditions we meet up with as dharmas, doors into enlightenment, lessons in humanity, paths to virtue. Each of the givens offers a spiritual challenge. When things change or end, we can grieve and let go rather than shake our fist at heaven. When things do not go according to plan, we can open to new possibilities, some from destiny, some from karma. When things prove unfair, we can work for justice and not retaliate against others but focus on their transformation. When suffering comes our way, we can experience it without protest or blame or the demand that we be exempted. When others are not loving or loyal, we can practice loving-kindness. In the face of any given we say yes mindfully, that is, without the mind-sets of ego: fear, judgment, control, and attachment to an outcome.
Loving-kindness is the widest unconditional yes because it is a love that includes the whole universe. Then unconditional love as a remedy for fear of others and all the mindsets of ego. The practice of loving-kindness presupposes that we are all interconnected and helps make that fact conscious and real in the moment. This is the culmination of acceptance: love that is unbounded and abounding.