As a yoga instructor, I’ve studied quite a bit of Eastern philosophy, meditation, and what some might call New Age philosophy. A theme that recurs with great frequency is letting go, surrendering, allowing things to take their course.
I’ve finally arrived at a point in my life where I can admit that I’ve had a hard time with all this. Don’t get me wrong- it’s noble, and beautiful, and I’ve always wanted to be able to just let go on a dime. When some obstacle arises, it would be wonderful to shift into ‘let go’ mode. Trying to let go, however, has only been a source of frustration. I’ll think, “I should be letting go. I need to let go,” as if it were a task that I could actually accomplish. When someone tells you to let go, that is what they are asking- perform the task of letting go, which paradoxically is not letting go. Try to let go, and try hard!
Maybe it is my Western monkey mind- I am a doer. I like to accomplish, to move, to achieve. It’s a major part of my conditioning, and at the end of the day, I don’t see anything wrong with it. The world needs enthusiastic proactive go-getters, just as much as it needs the nurturing preservers.
The solution to the issue came to me in the car this morning, after teaching my morning yoga class. I won’t let go- I will transform. When an obstacle arises, I will actively change myself from caterpillar to butterfly and respond to the situation from that higher place. Yoga is all about transformation- we spend an hour or so opening the body and lengthening muscles, breathing, toning the mind. We transform ourselves, and in the remaining minutes of the class we are ripe for letting go and relaxing.
If you are like me and find letting go difficult, try something different- transform! This is something you can participate in, unlike the mysterious mystical state of surrendering. Notice what reactions arise in you- the caterpillars- and consciously turn them into butterflies. Give it a try- it’s quite fulfilling and empowering. And when it happens, surrender is an afterthought.