I was on a walk today, while getting over a slight cold which I picked up the other day. I find it refreshing and healthy to go on walks when I am sick because it gets me out of the stagnation of sickness that can be built up in my apartment. I was all set to go, and put in the Walter Mitty soundtrack to listen to as it’s been a place of inspiration of my life lately.
I was thinking about what some of the most potent lessons in giving up control in a relationship were when a logical string of events crossed my mind. Some people may struggle with this, as I have, and continue to work toward this old habit that comes up. It was one of my more potent lessons on letting go while on my walk.
As I watched the birds overhead the thoughts came to me like watching a wave curl overhead.
“If your fear is of losing something.
Don’t graph onto it.
Don’t try to control it.
Don’t try and possess it.”
The paradox of letting go
This paradox took me back for a moment. It’s such a simple guideline. The more I let this sit, the more potent it can had become. I saw that when we are afraid of losing something we tend grip tight to it, and we typically try and find any way we can to keep it in our grasp.
But what does this typically lead to?
Before I answer that I want to tell a story about some of the many cats that I have had the pleasure of meeting in my day. Some just love attention and will shamelessly seek it but that is not the kind of cat I am talking about. What I am talking about are the ones that when you try and get close they back away. They play hard to get.
If you sit in stillness and let go of your desire to WANT the cat, it will come on its own accord. Out of it’s own curiosity to be pet by you.
So do you see, it’s by letting go and allowing what the situation to be free to what it wants to do, do we have complete control. Even satisfied moreso then trying to get something we really have no control over to begin with.
The suffering that comes with gripping tight
When we try and control the outcome, or we grip tight. We end up repelling the thing we don’t want to have leave us. Look at it from a relationship stand point. Isn’t that how a lot of relationships start to fall apart? We want to control how something should be, whether it’s a circumstance or the love of our life.
When this happens, typically there will be a distancing and communications begin to shut down. Over time the grasping gets stronger because we don’t “get what we want,” and so the distance becomes greater to the point of un-bearability.
So if you see yourself in this, just know that it is not something you alone struggle with. It may take a bit of practice but letting go is important to a healthy relationship. The idea that you need this person in your life to be complete is not true. You are complete regardless, and always have been.
Letting her/him be free to be who they are, may save your relationship with the right intention.
As Osho said of the flower,
“If you love a flower, don’t pick it up.
Because if you pick it up it dies and it ceases to be what you love.
So if you love a flower, let it be.
Love is not about possession.
Love is about appreciation.”
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This seems to be a theme that plays a large role in the west style of relationship. We always seem to be trying to control our circumstance to have some kind of grounding. This kind of clinging causes much human suffering. Letting go of control is probably one of the most important things you can learn when relating to others.
Why is letting go important?
When we can’t see that our ideas may not be whats actually going on, then we cling to that idea even at the expense of our our happiness. Letting go of our ideas of ourselves and others is important because it allows true openness and honesty to blossom during relating. Trying to pin a stagnant checklist/idea to someone you love (or to yourself) is not conducive to emotional well being.
As soon as we have an idea of someone else, we no longer see them for who they are.
And this then leads to mis-understanding because of our insistence to clinging to OUR idea that they “should or shouldn’t” be a certain way. This is a selfish behavior which when seen through can be stopped through conscious response.
See how human suffering can sprout from just this need to hang on to our ideas? We not only shoot ourselves in the foot with this one, but we end up shooting the other in the foot as well, even though they are innocent!