Words of Wisdom
To ‘let it go’ or to ‘let it be’? That is the question…
The Beatles were on to something quite remarkable with their notorious track. As a proud adherent of the yoga, spiritual, natural healing, self-help, and holistic communities for most of my adult life, I often hear the term ‘let go’. This phrase is usually repeated in conjunction with situations that would otherwise produce suffering. For example, if I am dealing with an altercation with a friend, the unanimous yogic decision would be to just ‘let it go’. Or, if I am feeling depressed and sad about a break-up, the holistic heroes advise me to simply ‘let it go’. Initially, the phrase sparked a small light of inspiration within me. The phrase suggests that perhaps I have some sort of choice when it comes to the level of misery I endure based on certain life situations. That’s pretty cool. What’s not so cool, however, is that I have no idea what the term means. Um, how exactly do I let a feeling go? Where does it go? What’s wrong with it?
What I have concluded is that, on a subtle and somewhat subconscious level, encouraging someone to ‘let go’ of certain feelings indicates that their feelings are in some way wrong or incorrect. Scientific research has proven that our subconscious mind is responsible for many of our conscious habits and choices. Even though it may not seem so on the conscious level, and even if you feel periodically inspired after hearing the term ‘let go’, there’s a chance that you are strengthening myelin, which coats neurons in your brain. Those neurons are responsible for you eating half a cake in one sitting, for which you are advised by your holistic nutritionist friend to just ‘let it go’. In my opinion, whether or not I know how to let something go, the term subtly grants me permission to do it again. By letting something go, we are not fully processing the issue at hand. It is a temporary fix, kind of like a Band-Aid. Just a cover up.
‘Letting go’ of an emotion or a feeling is synonymous with letting it go deep down into our subconscious to be buried, only to have to face it again in some other way at some other time. If you find yourself repeating unhealthy habits and patterns, it’s time to stop letting go and start letting it be.
‘Let it be’ gives us the opportunity to explore the situation at hand. Instead of letting go of a feeling because I don’t like how it feels, let it be invites me to sit down and have a chat and a cup of tea with my fear and despair. Instead of pretending they don’t exist, ‘let it be’ validates that my feelings are just fine as they are. By becoming more and more curious about the way I respond to a certain situation, I am better able to assimilate, process, and digest the information at hand and remain clear and unscarred.
‘Letting it be’ gives my feelings and emotions time to run their course. It is an up close and personal encounter with all that arises. Here’s an example: I recently witnessed a child stub his toe on the sidewalk. I nearly felt his pain for him, especially after he let out a deafening shriek and continued to cry excessively for the next three minutes. Once the crying was complete, he dried off his tears (with help from Mom), and went back to playing with his friends. He let it be. He allowed his tears to run their course.
Let your tears run their course, whether they are tears of sadness, pain, grief, anger, joy, gratitude, excitement, or love. Allow the river of yourself to flow without obstruction or apology. Let yourself be as you are, and you will discover there is much joy to be had. After all, the sun is always shining above the clouds, even on the rainiest of days.
…Let it be. That is the answer.