Letting go

When we think of letting go, and allowing things to be, we picture someone who has given up.

Nowadays, if you don’t espouse drive, ambition and success you are nothing.

But, it takes great courage to pursue non-striving.

If we stop to consider the hierarchy of living, isn’t happiness the nirvana for all of us? The problem is that we have been brainwashed to believe that we have to be someone or get something in order to reach the apogee of our lives.

Is that your goal?

It was certainly mine up until recently.

In fact, for a few years, I was consumed with the idea of career success. I thought that striving would beget economic well-being would beget happiness.

No more.

I’m only interested in this moment.

Of course, even in this moment you can exercise your mind to postulate on what might be. Trust me when I say that if you can drop the pretence for a moment, you will avoid the relentless focus on grasping for something better, economically or otherwise.

Think about it this way. When you are in the ‘zone’ (or ‘flow’ as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi coined) the reason that it feels special is because your mind is not preoccupied with a stream on non-conscious thoughts. You create this headspace where you feel alive, in the moment.

Even if you are trapped in a cycle of doing by dint of your financial predicament, you can still take advantage of this process by having a signal to stop what you are doing and be as close to nature or the natural environment as possible. For most people that often means going outside, and going for a walk. But even if you don’t have the time, just finding a window and looking out on an open space or the sky can allow you the waking moment to remind yourself that this life is more than a job title, money or your ego-driven desires.

You may think me flogging a dead horse with this message. I don’t much care. All I know is that I’ve yet to meet anyone trapped inside cubicle nation who is truly happy. And when I refer to happiness, I mean it in the sense spoken off by Sri Ramana when he said that “… when there is no thought, the mind experiences happiness; and when the world appears, it goes through misery.”

Coming back to the point of letting go, I don’t expect you to delete your vocabulary of success, but perhaps you might reconsider how much of you you know by virtue of your work, and how much remains to be explored. For me, if all my work did was mask the real me, then I’m not sure how much I could continue down that path before driving myself slowly mad.

– Julian

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