"Life is the most profound learning experience, but we can only remove the obstructions and create a better, more fulfilling life when the right doors are open." from page 33 of the same book.
Our need to control, predict, and feel responsible for outcomes feed our egos. Many times tragedies, diagnoses and other uncontrollable and unforeseen life events come into direct conflict with these attachments.
When I was teaching the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Family to Family class this year, it became evident to me that 'letting go' is at the heart of our work as family members and caretakers of persons with mental illness. In order to grieve and show up in the "new reality", one must let go of the dreams, expectations, and "shoulds" that we once had. This is at the heart of meditation and centering prayer work. They are like practice sessions, internal role play, for constantly letting go of attachments, thoughts, projections, and so on. In centering prayer, we are letting go of these to continually open space for the sacred, to let go of our grasp. We open our hands, hearts, and beings to the divine.
What dawned on me is that when we talk of letting go, we are not talking about giving up. Letting go of our self made image and projections onto the world around us is not the same as shutting down and turning off to the possibility that another reality exists. When you 'let go' of the dreams and needs for your family member to reach certain goals, you make way for their path to unfold in light of all that is true for them. When you 'give up', you succumb to the ego that says "if things can't play out my way, then I won't subject myself to any other form of reality. It's my way or the highway."
I started thinking about how spiritual this concept is. If we 'let go' of the notion that we are absolutely in control of our own reality enough to honor the shared, interconnected nature of our human existence, then we have the potential to grow in freedom and love. If we 'give up' on the notion that any other reality is possible then we continually say no to the potential to grow in freedom and love within ourselves and between each other. I think letting go of our ego's attachments leads to humility and deeper connection. I believe that 'giving up' leads to ego inflation and isolation.
'Letting go' is not the same as 'giving up'. I hope to practice more 'letting go' in my daily life.