Letting go ain’t easy, man.
We are all going to have moments where we are forced to let go of something that we love and cherish. These moments often come with much pain, followed by a subtle emanation of joy behind the sorrow. This is the pain of loss and the joy of realizing that what was lost has always existed within us.
The things that we love stay with us. Nothing is ever truly “lost.” That love never leaves us; it was born in the depths of our souls, and it will remain there until the end of time. The outside world just affirms a feeling that already existed inside of ourselves.
The mind doesn’t want to let go of anything. It wants to hold onto everything nice that it comes across, whether it be wealth, love, power, pleasure, and so forth. This way, it can grow and grow and grow, making it feel bigger and bigger and bigger. The more stuff it holds onto, the more real and important it feels.
Maybe this isn’t always a bad thing. We obviously need to hold on to certain things, right? It doesn’t make much sense in the modern world to be completely detached all the time. We have jobs. We have relationships. We have homes and families. We have dreams, goals, ideas, passions, philosophies—and maybe it is not such a bad thing that we hold on to some of this stuff.
These things make up our identity, and it is definitely useful to have an identity in this crazy, complicated world. If this is how the mind has developed to operate, then there are probably some decent reasons for it, considering the fact that our species hasn’t been killed off yet.
It falls on us to know what we should hold onto and what we should let go of, and this is by no means an obvious thing to navigate. In fact, we usually feel exactly the opposite of what would be good for us. We want let go when we should hold on, and we want to hold onto things we should probably learn to let go of.
How do we approach this?
I would say start by assuming we are completely wrong, because we probably are. Let’s presume that we have no idea what the hell we are doing and that our knowledge is almost certainly useless. This is actually a great place to be, because then we have no preconception about what we should do and are less likely to fall victim to our conditioning.
A problem comes up. We are lovesick, or maybe we are just sick of love. We don’t know when to stop chasing someone, or we don’t know whether to end a relationship or not.
We start by asserting that we know nothing and don’t have the first inkling of how to deal with this. Then we attempt to identify the deepest feeling we have about this person or this relationship, perhaps by journaling about it, meditating, or reading or listening to something that incorporates introspection, like J. Krishnamurti or Eckhart Tolle. Anything that gets us in touch with how we truly feel, without the background of our conditioning, the ego, our pain body, or anything that might interrupt our sense of things.
We feel what we need to feel, and then we choose our path. If we sense that we are attached and obsessive, f*cking let it go, man. If we feel in our souls that this love is coming from an honest place, hold the f*ck onto it and do everything we can to express that feeling.
It’s hard to know when to let go of past love. An old lover got us in touch with a good feeling inside of ourselves, and when they left us, we felt as though they took that feeling with them. The truth is that love was always within us, we just came to associate it with the image of another person. That love was shared; it was not given to us by the other person. When they left us, they didn’t take it with them. Let’s just appreciate all of the beautiful moments that were had and not tarnish that love by making it all about the other person. It’s harmful to ourselves and the person we loved, and it stains the connection that once existed.
To live, we love; we must know when to hold on and learn how let go.
Author: Samuel Kronen
Image: Unsplash/Sarah Cervantes
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Copy Editor: Travis May