One of the most daunting lessons I’ve come across in my spiritual journey, is that of surrendering. It can feel overwhelming and scary if you don’t know how to let go or un-attach from a situation or outcome. Acceptance is a term that I think many of us have a love/hate relationship with. Sometimes it’s easier than others to accept that things can’t go our way or that everything happens for a reason. Other moments may have us wanting to throw in the towel and call it quits, as the overwhelming sense of “this is wrong” is too much for our inner control freak to bear.
It’s human, it’s normal, it’s unavoidable, but that doesn’t make it any easier some days. I’ve had a few experiences in the last year that have been torn right out of my tightly closed hands. They were things I did not want to let go of and could not get myself to accept. I’ve read the books and listened to the podcasts that teach on surrender, letting go and letting God, moving with the flow of the Universe… and yet I couldn’t get the mindset to stick when the moment arose. This left me feeling hopeless and defeated.
Then I realized what I was doing. I was yet again trying to control the situation, trying to force acceptance and surrender. Telling myself “This is what you have to do, so learn how to do it or you’re going to be unhappy forever”. Unfortunately having perfectionistic tendencies isn’t helpful when on a journey of personal and spiritual development. Because nothing about this journey, or myself is going to be perfect. It’s not a game where once I “complete the level”, I get to automatically move up and up until I win or Game Over. It requires learning and perhaps unlearning… trying things on for size, then accepting that a method didn’t work… and trying all over again.
As for our relationship as humans with acceptance, I don’t believe it will ever be a language we can be completely fluent in. It goes against our very nature… to push, to attach, to cling, to posses, to fight. Especially when unacceptable things happen to us like the passing of a loved one. Acceptance doesn’t magically happen overnight. But when we do learn to let go (even just a little bit), to surrender and trust, it is in our progress we will find peace. Ever heard the quote “You want to make God laugh, tell him your plans”? Well it’s one I heard often growing up and yet even after all these years it never full sunk in. I’ve had to make a conscious effort to release the outcome of my desires and accept things for my highest good.
But how do you discern what’s right for you and what is not? I have always been a firm believer in not settling and listening to my intuition. So when do you know if the relationships, the career, or living situation you are in is right for you or only right for the moment? The mantra I have recently been using is, Let it go in your mind. Let it be in your heart. Using that mantra, I believe you can decide whether this issue is something for the mind or the heart to let go of.
Typically, our minds are so overwhelmed by problems… and possible problems… and past problems, that all we see are the problems. So by first letting the issue “go” in your mind, you can release the initial pressure of overanalyzing the situation. Then drop into your heart, and with your mind at ease, listen to what you feel and only that. When you think of your life… of your relationships, your career, your living situation, etc… do you feel light or heavy? Do you want to improve the current situation or are you praying for it to be done altogether? Is the issue rooted in egoism, fear, and overwhelm – but you feel if those ingredients disappeared you would be happy? Or is your unhappiness coming from an authentic desire for change, growth, and expansion?
Sometimes we want things to change that cannot. Other times we want things to stay the same so desperately that we cling so tightly and eventually suffocate the situation. By gradually learning to not attach to specifically detailed outcomes or expectations, we can eliminate a lot of the stress beforehand. But if you are already in too deep to your need to attach and control the situation, that’s where the Let It Go, Let It Be mantra can come in handy. Rarely are we ever going to master this perfectly. Releasing outcomes and learning to surrender control are some of the most difficult mindsets to shift. It is a life long journey, but all you need is progress – not perfection.
About the Author
Rachel Catherine is a writer and the Creator of Learning to Glow, an online resource for the metaphysically-minded. The Learning to Glow Library features helpful articles, videos, podcasts, authors, and more on topics within both spiritual and personal development. www.learningtoglow.com