It seems that nearly everyone I speak with lately is experiencing big transitions, confounding challenges, or unexpected opportunities – sometimes, all three. What I notice is that, no matter the circumstance, somehow they all have to do with letting go.
Those in transitions are often faced with letting go of some part of their lives – often a quite significant part – and they realize that things will never be the same again.
Those facing challenges often feel that there is some part of what is happening that is out of their control. They have done what they feel they can do, and now it’s out of their hands. Yet the thought of letting go of their destiny is scary.
Even those who are meeting opportunities often find that when they try to grab on too tightly to the gift of the moment, the opportunity becomes elusive. It refuses to be held onto or harnessed. Opportunities often have their own path – a path that may be difficult to find until we are willing to take our hands off of the steering wheel. Or the path may feel uncomfortable or unfamiliar. Perhaps the opportunity is asking us to show up in a different way. Yet that is actually their real gift. Opportunities stretch us to grow and learn and step further into the potential that is ours to claim.
Sogyal Rinpoche, renowned Tibetan lama and author of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, teaches:
Although we have been made to believe
that if we let go we will end up with nothing,
life reveals just the opposite:
that letting go is the real path to freedom.
It’s important, however, to make a distinction between “letting go” and “giving up.”
Giving up is a passive act – an act of disengagement. When we give up, we no longer take any responsibility for what is happening. We become, in effect, the victim. These things are just happening to us.
Yet conscious and intentional letting go is actually a pro-active step. It’s an act of engagement. It’s not just letting go of something – it’s also letting go to something.
Letting go then becomes a conscious choice to set a situation free so that it might transform or evolve into its greatest potential. It’s letting go to potential. In that moment, we also set ourselves free for our own transformation and evolution. It’s a moment of liberation for all.
Letting go is an act of surrender in its highest form. In the western world, we think of surrender as giving up. Yet in the eastern traditions, surrender is seen as giving over to something greater. In Transformational Presence, we call it “flowing with” instead of “pushing against.”
It’s important to note that “flow with” is not the same thing as “go with the flow!” “Go with the flow” implies just going with whatever is happening anyway. That is, in fact, a passive approach – giving up or disengaging.
“Flow with” is a pro-active step of intuiting and sensing what wants to happen in service of more than just you, and then letting go to that flow of energy and potential. That potential is a wave of energy that will carry and support you.
However, riding the energy wave is not a passive process. If the surfer wants to successfully ride the ocean wave all the way into the shore, she must be fully engaged with everything that is going on and constantly responding to every signal, every nuance, and every subtle shift in the energy of the wave. “Flow with” asks for the same kind of engagement.
As our work continues to expand and evolve here at the Center for Transformational Presence, I, too, am experiencing transition, challenge, and opportunity – all three at the same time. The more I practice letting go to the work I am called to, the more I notice that I am actually being held and supported.
It seems counter-intellectual, yet intuitively it makes sense. I’m busier right now and have more projects on the table than at any other time in my life. Yet by letting go to the flow of potential, my work and my life are carrying me. It’s a funny thing – I’m learning that I can actually rest in my work – that my work will carry and support me. When I let go of what I (or others) might think should happen and let go to the powerful flow of potential that is unfolding, opportunities emerge that I would not have imagined.
Coming back to Rinpoche’s words, I’m learning on yet another level that letting go is the real path to freedom.
Whether you are in a transition, facing a big challenge, or being gifted with an opportunity – or all three at once! – what are you being asked to let go to?
What if letting go could set you free? What if letting go could provide you with rest and support? And what if letting go could actually carry you to a possibility beyond what you could have imagined?
~ ~ ~
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Related Blog Posts:
- When You Hold On Tightly
- “Faithfully Letting Go” – Finding the Path From What Has Been To What Could Be
- Letting Go in Love – A Storyof Living and Dying, Celebrating and Grieving, and Finding a Way Forward