Should I hold on, or should I let go?
Holding on, when all others are easily letting go, is certainly a sign of inner strength, but letting go when ‘holding on’ can only destroy all potential of a beautiful life, requires even more strength. Read this statement again, and you shall understand that not everything in life must be let go of without a fight. For example, you do not let go of your health without a fight, you do not bail out on a friendship without a fight, you do not walk away from a difficult task without a fight; but when a person, an event, an activity, or a place has turned toxic, creates more pain than it brings pleasure, when everything that you have tried to turn it around has met with failure, then it is time to let that go.
Letting go demands acceptance of the truth of toxicity. This first step is often the most difficult one. Without our awareness, delusion creeps in, making us believe that what we wish for can still ‘be’. At this time dear family members, friends and well-wishers, and able counsellors can help us to review our beliefs, and view the situation factually, and not through the spectacles of delusion. That which is unhealthy is very clearly seen as such by the Universe, that initially stands by and allows us the respect to proceed on the letting go process at our pace, and in our own way. But, when the unhealthy situation reaches critical levels without our recognition of it (or with our active denial of it), the Universe steps in and creates a situation that cannot escape our attention, and which is hard to be denied. It stands to reason that such a situation is most often unpleasant.
When our attention is drawn, the next step is to stop the struggle, and to accept ‘what is’. ‘Easier said than done’, you might well retort. I agree. I have found that what allows me to ease up on the struggle, and then stop it completely, is an ‘attitude of gratitude’. When we struggle with what we do not wish to let go of, it is because we are focusing on what we don’t have in our life, rather than on what we do. By shifting this focus, and by constantly being grateful, and expressing that gratitude very specifically, helps us to be aware that we are indeed blessed, and that our struggles are standing in the way of more blessings coming into our lives.
A very simple example can help you to understand this. A parent shall deny the child’s demand for more ice-cream than is good for his health. The parent attempts to make the child aware of all the delightful entertainment at the fair which the child could enjoy. If the child lets go of the demand for the ice-cream, the child shall enjoy all the rides and fun at the fair. In fact, the happy parents shall buy the child toys and other goodies. But if the child refuses to let go, and continues to throw tantrums, the parents are forced to take the child away from the fair. Do you recognize the child in this example? What is the ‘ice-cream’ that you are demanding, and thereby missing out on the other joys of the ‘fair’?
Personal growth and change can be uncomfortable, but staying stuck is painful. There is a reason for every change. If we stop ‘throwing our tantrums’, we shall become aware of the reason. This may not happen immediately, but this awareness shall certainly come to you in time. For this, you must have faith. When you can experience the toxicity, but cannot see why things turned toxic, have the faith to believe that there is a reason that your ‘parent’ can see, but which you do not yet have either the emotional or the spiritual maturity to be aware of.
A strong emotion that makes ‘letting go’ difficult is fear. The fear that the future shall not be a happy one, often makes us struggle to let go of the ‘known devil’. We get caught in ‘it could have been’, or ‘it should be’, and that occupies our minds so much that ‘what is’ and ‘what I can make it’ are lost in the maze of confused thoughts. Evolution is life, and life is evolution. And all four wheels of evolution are ‘change’. If even one of the wheels is caught in the mire of the past, the vehicle of life shall not move forward. To have a happy life, the only way to move is forward.
To move forward, we must express gratitude. Gratitude for the learning and growth that the unpleasant situation has brought us. Even if our eyes are dulled with pain, and we cannot clearly see what the learning has been, faith in the ‘parent’ shall make us believe that there has been a learning that shall be revealed to us when the pain has reduced. For the pain to reduce, though, we must let go and move forward.
Become aware of one person you know whose life is considerably harder than your own. Mentally bow before this person for having shown you the blessings you have in your life. Do this five times in the course of the day.
Through the day express gratitude - for the bright sun that shines, for the home you live in, for the cool car that you travel in, for the job you have, for the ability to do the tasks you need to do, for those who love and respect you, for the plentiful water that you can drink, for the fulsome meals that you enjoy, for those who help and serve you …. the list in endless. Several times in the day stop and become aware of where you are, and what you are doing, and say ‘thank you for this’.
What/who is it that you are not letting go of? Write five ways in which this is /was toxic for you. Stay in this awareness.
Do this today. Tomorrow you shall learn some techniques to ‘let go’ that you can use along with the ‘attitude of gratitude’. Till then look around at your home, your work place, and the world outside your window, and find many, many, many things to appreciate. Count all these blessings. And each time declare, ‘Wow, I am so blessed, my life is so rich’. Smile throughout the day as you bask in these blessings.
(This blog has been taken from the Email Course 'Living Meditation'. If you wish to enrol for this 44-part Email Course, and know more details, please email me.)