The Wisdom of Letting Go
What Is “Letting Go”?
“Letting go” literally means releasing your close or tight fist in order to abandon or give up something that you are holding in your hand. If you are close- or tight- fisted, you also cannot receive anything. “Letting go” is detachment.
The opposite of “letting go” is “attaching to” something that you are stubbornly holding on to.
The Wisdom in Asking Questions
There is an old proverb that says: “He who cannot ask cannot live.” Life is all about asking questions, and seeking answers from all the questions asked, including questions about “letting go.”
To live well, you need to ask yourself many self-probing questions as you continue on your life journey in order to find out: who you really are, and not who you think or wish you were; what you really need, and not what you want from life; why certain undesirable things happened while certain desirable things did not happen to you. Without knowing the answers to those questions asked, you can never be genuinely happy because you will always be looking for the unreal and the unattainable, just like the carrot-and-stick mule forever reaching out for the unreachable carrot in front.
In many ways, the human brain is like a computer program. Your whole being is like the computer hardware with the apparatus of a mind, a body, and its five senses. The lens through which you see yourself, as well as others and the world around you, are the software that has been programmed by your thoughts, your past and present experiences, as well as your own desires and expectations. In other words, it is you—and nobody else—who have programmed your own mindset. All these years, you may have been trapped in a constricted sense of the self that has prevented you from knowing and being who you really are. That is to say, your “conditioned” thinking mind may have erroneously made you "think" and even "believe" that you are who and what you are right now; but nothing could be further from the truth.
By asking relevant questions, you may have the human wisdom to "change" that pre-conditioned mindset, and thus enabling you to separate the truths from the half-truths or even the myths that you may have created for yourself voluntarily or involuntarily all these years.
The important thing in questioning is to experience everything related to all the questions you ask concerning yourself, others, and the world around you. Live every question in its full presence.
Always ask yourself many “how” and “why” questions regarding whatever you may do, say, and want in your everyday life and living. Ask questions not just about yourself, but also about all those around you, whether they are connected to your or not.
Be patient toward all those questions that you cannot find the answers right away. Enlightenment may dawn on you one day when you ask fewer or even no more questions, because by then you may already have got all the answers; that is your ultimate self-awakening to the truths.
Empower your thinking mind to increase its wisdom by asking questions to initiate its intent to learn, to discover, and then to change yourself for the better.
Asking self-intuitive questions may help you find out who you really are, and not who you wish you were. More importantly, you may discover how and why you have become attached to so many things in your life that define who you think you are.
What Are Attachments?
An attachment is basically your own emotional dependence on things and people that define your identity, around which you wrap your so-called “happiness”, and even your survival. Attachment is holding on to anything that you are unwilling to let go of, whether it is something positive or negative.
An attachment is no more than a safety blanket to overcome your fear—fear of change and of the unknown from that change. To cope with that fear, all your attachments become your distractions.
We are living in a world with many problems that confront us in our everyday life, and many of them are not only unavoidable but also insoluble. To overcome these daily challenges, many of us just turn to attachments as a means of distracting ourselves from facing our problems head on, or adapting and changing ourselves in an ever-changing environment.
But human attachments are the sources of human miseries. Worse, human attachments may come in many different forms that we are unaware of, such as careers, relationships, adversity and prosperity, success and failure, and among others.
The Wisdom of Letting Go
The human flaws of attachments can be discerned and even overcome with human wisdom, which is no more than knowing and understanding the ultimate truth of human existence.
In the Christian tradition, truth begins with God, and not with the self, just as Jesus said: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
However, in Eastern cultures, the understanding of the self is the first step in the pursuit of the ultimate truth, which is human wisdom.
Simply put, no matter what, humans are given a physical body, a mind, and a soul or spirit. The body lives in the material world, and is equipped with the five senses to live and survive in the physical environment. The mind, as the mediator between the body and the soul, is given the gift of free will, which is the freedom to process any input in the form of thoughts and sensations from both the body and the soul.
The ultimate truth: whenever we wish to do something, the soul intuitively provides the instinctive judgment, the mind then gives the analysis and the interpretation, and the body eventually executes the appropriate action or decision of the mind. In other words, what we want to do and how we are going to do it are all in the mind. Therefore, the human mind plays a pivotal role in understanding the ultimate truth about the origin of human attachments, and how they may create the false ego-self that often leads to human flaws as a result of an identity crisis.
The TAO wisdom, which is the ancient wisdom of Lao Tzu, the ancient sage from
more than 2,600 years ago, may show you the wisdom of letting go to live as if
everything is a miracle even in this day and age. With the TAO, you will ultimately self-intuit the wisdom of letting go,
which plays a pivotal role in how you are going to live the rest of your life. China
Copyright© by Stephen Lau