How gracefully you can let go will determine how freely you'll fly.
Apart from acceptance, another thing that life teaches us quite strongly is—the necessity of letting go. What letting go actually entails and how it can lead us to freedom—let us go into it for some time.
The Principle of Letting Go
In life, as though in a river, we are all drifting. And a flowing river is ever changing and dynamic. So life is. Because of this, there is no certainty and security in life—anything can happen anytime. But we are hopeful beings. We build castles of hope in the water, not realising that life is always in motion. We build our own worlds on water…and think that it’ll remain the same!
But waters keep rolling and life keeps us giving black and blue dreams. We remain ever anxious and uncertain. Our demand for security makes us hope against all hopes and makes us strive to find certainty in ever uncertain waters of life. So we cling—to whatever gives us that sense of security, no matter how baseless it is. We cling to people—our family and the people we love. We cling to things we possess (or they possess us?). It’s like we’re all trying to hold onto some support in life’s choppy waters, because somehow we all have this nagging feeling that we’re being washed away. But this grasping, this clinging to life is the very reason we suffer. We can also call this attachment to life. Attachment will inevitably bring suffering with it. To let go of all attachments is an essential attitude if we at all want absolute freedom within us. Attachment brings bondage, letting go gives us freedom.
What Letting Go Actually Means…
Letting Go doesn’t mean abandoning everything and living the life of a recluse. We are in deep waters, we cannot get out of it completely—that’s mukti! To be free from the very current of life and death! Not that we cannot get mukti, what I mean to say is that we actually don’t have aspirations for mukti, we actually like this bondage! Yes, that’s the reality. So long as this is so, we can’t go out of the river of Life. So we’re going to stay in these waters for an indefinite period of time. So how can we abandon everything and what’ll we abandon?—Home? Family? People we love? Things we possess?
There are two margs (ways) in life: the first is the pravritti marg, the way of the world, and the second is the nivritti marg, the way of renunciation. Those who choose nivritti marg renounce the world. They mentally cut off all their attachments to people they love, things they own, and live a life of a sannyasi—one who owns nothing, not even his or her worldly name. They get a new birth, a new name, and live a spiritual life. We are not talking of that here. People who choose pravritti marg, the worldly way—the attitude of letting go is really for them. They need it more than the sannyasis, because they’ve anyway left all their attachments behind. But, we, worldly souls, are still in this sea of bondages…we need this attitude even more.
We have to understand, the reason we’re attached to life and all the things life offers is—deep down we all want security. Uncertainty shakes the very nerves of our brains! We hate uncertainty! We want to be certain about everything. But this is a foolish approach to life. We are ignoring the very facts of life—that life is uncertain, life is transient. There’s no security anywhere. But we choose to ignore this fact and strive all our life to establish security. One who lives like this is an ignorant being. And ignorance has its own price to pay. We choose ignorance over enlightenment. Yes! It’s not that we cannot get enlightened, actually we don’t want to. Ignorance itself gives us so much sense of bliss and security! So why would we even aspire otherwise? So in the sea we are!
Well, what we do with our life is entirely up to us. Nobody has the authority to dictate our lives. We are the decision-makers in the matters of our lives. Nobody else is. But whatever we’ll choose will have its share of consequences. We should keep that in mind.
But, for once, we should ask ourselves: why cling? Why get attached? Why choose bondage? Why choose suffering, life after life?
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P.S: With this I’m ending the The Ways of Life series. So far we’ve discussed about Acceptance and Letting go. To accept and to let go is a hard-earned wisdom in life. But they make us mature.
Thank you for your patience. With Love, Alok 🍁