Letting go: what does it truly mean? *FREE WORKBOOK*
When you first start yoga, one of the most popular phrases you are going to come across is to “let go”. You might read it on my blog, hear it from your local yoga teacher, see it on the cover of a yoga magazine... but what does it actually means?
What is the true sense and meaning behind “letting go”? What are the things that we are letting go off and WHY is it so important?
I’m going to tell you straight away that this is serious stuff we are going to discuss today... Letting go is a deeply spiritual process, so everyone is entitled to his or her own interpretation. Therefore there is no right or wrong here.
Where does it come from?
In Buddhism and yoga, detachment (or non-attachment) from the desire of material objects, concepts, people, past and expectations is considered a virtue. By detachment, one can achieve a heightened perspective. Non-attachment is one of the components we need to learn to quiet our mind and eventually achieve enlightenment.
Many people interpret it wrong. Detachment doesn’t mean that you don’t care about people you love or you have to refuse material things like having a nice, cozy home or a comfortable car.
In fact, detachment is a state of mind where you let people and things be the way they are and you accept things as they come and go.
Let’s say you dream about holidays in Bali. You work hard, save money, you are about to book flights when your car suddenly brakes down and you need to spend that saved money on a new one (because it’s essential for commuting / taking kids to school etc) instead of going on your dream holiday. For the sake of this example let’s assume you don’t own credit card and you can’t borrow any money for the new car. You are simply stuck and you have to give up holidays.
You have two choices on how to deal with the situation.
1) Overthinking it for days, weeks or even months, feeling hurt, saying that life is unfair and only bad things are happening to you.
2) Accept the reality as it is, understand that you can’t predict everything in life and simply make the best of your current situation.
Which option looks better? Personally, I choose no 2. With a calm state of mind not only I would avoid suffering, but also I would be more likely to figure out the way to save for holidays again. Burying yourself in regret and anger won’t change the situation and will certainly stop you from moving forward.
The human brain is a powerful tool, but sometimes it can work in funny ways. Not only do we feel disappointed because of the current misfortune, we are also dissatisfied because we had already planned something will happen in a certain way however, reality does not meet our expectations. How many times did you feel dissatisfied because people didn’t act the way you expected or you haven’t lost as much weight as you planned?
We get upset because we already attached ourselves to something that didn’t even happened yet!
The way to avoid unnecessary suffering is to stop attaching ourselves to things and situations that are out of our control. Also accepting that life is not a straight line, but an ever-changing bumpy road.
That is the essence of “Letting go”. Common things we are attaching ourselves to, that need releasing:
- The past
- Expectations towards yourself and others
- Pleasing everyone around
- Worrying (especially imagining what might happen like a beloved one getting terminally ill or having a car accident)
- The belief in “forever” (things come & go, they also change and evolve)
Two things worth to notice:
- Letting go of expectations or comparing doesn’t mean you don’t need to strive to be the best version of yourself every day. Instead of setting an unrealistic goal like losing a huge amount of weight in a short time (which leads to the yo-yo effect, disappointment, and suffering), decide on building healthy habits over a longer period of time and accept that there will be small bumps along the way.
- “Letting go” is not a one-time act. We are all influenced by desires, relationships, stress, excitement etc, so perform “Release & Let go” ritual as often as needed, at least once a month during Full Moon. Also, some of the things in your life (like deep traumas) might need many Full Moon rituals before you will feel truly ready to let them go.
I wouldn’t like to pretend that I have everything figured out myself. I’m a massive worrier and I definitely care too much about pleasing others. Luckily I managed to narrow down what’s weighing me down the most, so I can consciously work on releasing it - a little piece at a time. I encourage you to do the same.
If you want to deepen your knowledge in this topic, learn how to work with the powerful archetype of Wise Wild Woman and release things that don't serve you in life - download *FREE WORKBOOK* with printable sheet