I find myself going through cycles. Cycles of getting attached to my worries, anxieties, stressors, thoughts, doubts, guilt, plans, strategies, relationships…
I’d imagine you can relate. Attaching ourselves to the things of the world is a common ingredient of the human condition.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that attachment really is the cause of our suffering. Letting go – transcendence – is the solution.
Most faiths have this in common.
“All great spirituality teaches about letting go of what you don’t need and who you are not. Then, when you can get little enough and naked enough and poor enough, you’ll find that the little place where you really are is ironically more than enough and is all that you need. At that place, you will have nothing to prove to anybody and nothing to protect.”Richard Rohr
It sounds so simple, right? Just “let go and let God”. But holy shite, is it hard sometimes!
I usually get in these cycles of attachment because I “feel” that I have so much to do: So much to think about, so much to accomplish. All the tasks on my to-do list make me feel out of control. I feel that if I don’t constantly chip away at the things that need to be done or figured out, that I will drown (and there are many reasons in my past that can make me feel that way, which I won’t get into now).
So it’s hard, right? It’s hard to have all these tasks, worries, thoughts, cares, and attachments “needing” our attention, but then decide to let them go.
How does that make sense? It’s very counterintuitive.
But the mind is limited. Like a computer, we can only have so many tabs and windows open before our brain goes kaplooey.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”Jesus
Jesus Himself went away for long chunks of time to be by Himself and pray. We should do the same. We need it. We can’t survive without it.
But as it takes time for our minds to calcify and become rigid around the things that burden us, it also takes time (and a lot of effort and focus) to let go of what burdens us.
When I found myself burdened by different cares of the world, it takes a lot of focused intention to let it all go. It does not magically disappear as soon as I would like.
Once I get to that point of overwhelming burden, where it’s causing me stress, anxiety, and even sadness, it takes time and effort to peel all those layers of burden away.
It took time to get overwhelmed. It will also take time to let go.
Really, it’s just like losing weight. Overweight people don’t get overweight overnight. It usually takes years. Same goes with our spiritual and emotional burdens.
We are tightly-wound springs
Recently I went to counseling and told my counselor I was feeling very tightly wound – Stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed.
He asked me what picture comes to mind when I feel those feelings of stress and overwhelm. It took a minute, but I told him I see myself as a tightly-wound spring. A spring so tightly wound that it doesn’t actually spring. It becomes ineffective because it’s so overloaded and overworked.
That’s how we can be.
We get so worked up about the day-to-day of life that we forget to rest, to let go, to be truly at peace.
Our hearts need rest. Our souls need rest. Our minds need rest. We cannot be effective without it.
I have written more in-depth elsewhere with practical steps for achieving inner peace, but in summary:
- Little by little, let go of what burdens you
- Transcend into a state of pure awareness and non-judgment
- Then mediate on the infinite love, joy, kindness, goodness, peace, and wisdom of God
When your burdens keep trying to latch hold of you (and they will), keep letting them go. Don’t judge yourself, don’t shame yourself, don’t get frustrated with yourself. Just keeping letting those burdens go, one by one.
Over the course of hours or days, you will find that letting go is becoming easier. Your “batting average” of having a peaceful state will be higher. You will be more at peace than stressed. The feeling of “Oh, I need to do this or that, or think about this or that”, will eventually fade away.
Try it and see for yourself. Having trouble? Let me know! I’d love to help any way I can.