Letting go again and again and again
Dare I say that it has felt autumnal the last few mornings. I am not sure about anyone else but I was surprised to find that actually, the feeling felt okay inside. I thought perhaps I may want to hold tightly to summer, and I suppose a part of me does, really, but actually there is also much joy in moving on and letting go and opening to the wonderful seasonal changes ahead.
This concept of letting go has arisen quite frequently in my life recently. Perhaps that is the nature of pregnancy, such a huge transition from one way of being to another, that I am frequently faced with the task of letting go of how things have been, of getting away with late nights for example, of drinking wine when returning from a busy and chaotic day in the office to unwind, of calming all the ideas buzzing in my mind for Yoga workshops, classes and Reiki attunements and also for that endless desire to travel and attend courses myself - I thin of Nepal and ,my heart literally feels sad, sad that once again I won't be able to visit this year.
It would be easy to get caught up in all the letting go, in fact I know I have done, there has been frustration and weeping, the very process encourages both, but I also know that you need to let go to let the new enter, and the new, albeit quite unknown (and perhaps that is the problem, fear of the unknown) looks very promising indeed. I can't wait, ,my whole life I have been waiting, so of course I can wait, but you know what I mean, I am very much, incredibly in fact, looking forward to a new way of living with E and the bean, because it is so full of potential and love and joy and all those marvellous things, albeit taking me far away from my comfort zone! But perhaps I need to be letting go of that too, of the idea of what is next. Perhaps it is all a process of letting go.
Letting go is an interesting one, and I am very thankful for my limited - yes - Buddhist practice and my asana practice, which have both helped enormously with the concept but also the process of letting go. To me this is the joy of the spiritual practice. It is not easy, never easy, would be easier to run away from it indeed, but if you go through it, raw and open as it encourages you to be, well it offers so much to you, to the spirit, to life, to your experience of life, it helps to enlighten you, literally, lighten and then enlighten, shining spirit, clarity, clearer mind and essentially a greater strength and connection to the truth.
Let's face it, everything changes. The greatest joke is to imprison ourselves in the understanding, the mental formation, that we stay the same. We don't. Life doesn't. I suppose it can, but are we truly alive to the moment? Everything changes, the weather, the seasons, nature, everything ebbs and flows, there is movement, energy, transformation. And how about how we see ourselves, how we place ourselves in this world, as "success" or not, as this or that, as mothers, fathers, children, managers, workers, wealthy, poor, successful, how do we define all this, and doesn't this all change too, at some point we have to let go of our parents, of our children, of what we do when we retire, of our ability to move in the same way we may have done as a child, well Yoga may help keep us agile though of course, but you know what I mean, it all falls away eventually. Life is series of letting go moment.
I have been truly inspired by Jack Kornfield's book, "After the Ecstasy, the Laundry", in which he quotes one Western lama who came out of seven years of silent retreat to travel and teach for seven more: "The biggest surprise for me was how much I still needed to trust. For years I thought spiritual life was about some special state of perfection or enlightenment. It is really about releasing attachment. Life doesn't depend on what you do. The big illusions we strive for, whether in the world or our spiritual life, turn out to be false. When you learn to let go, you find tremendous faith in the ground of all things, that which is true before and after all our plans. Everything arises and passes - this is the true perfection. I found I could trust this."
So we can take comfort in the fact that everything does arise and pass. In those moments of darkness, when we feel we have been given a rubbish hand, well we can sit back and breathe and remember that this will pass too. It all passes. The breath is a constant, from the moment we are born to the moment we die, so sit with your breath, and practice, take to your mat and practice, the body is a marvellous tool for helping us to feel connected, helping us to let go, helping us to be present and helping us to awaken to our heart and every moment.
To quote Jack Kornfield, "Wise letting go is not a detached removal from life. It is the heart's embrace of life itself, a willing opening to the full reality if the present. This is the wisdom of the Tao:
Rushing into action, you fail.
Trying to grasp things, you lose them.
Therefore the master takes action by letting things
take their course.
She remains as calm at the end as at the beginning.
(tr. Stephen Mitchell)."
So with that in mind, I shall take myself to my mat to sit with my breath for a while, before moving a little and being open to what arises, and what passes, the pain in my sacrum, the stretching of my stomach muscles as the bean grows inside, his/her gentle kicking when the singing blow resonates its sound, and then out into the world, an August morning with rain cleansing the earth and feeding the garden outside. - this too will pass, well let us hope so anyway, high tide this evening would be wonderful with the sun shining!!!!
With much gratitude.