Jan shares an excerpt from her forthcoming book, The Place of No Pity:
“I don’t know. The whole idea of letting go just makes me hold tighter and I’m so afraid I haven’t completed everything on this side of the river yet. I don’t want to leave anything behind. I’m thorough that way.”
We laugh at that, but it’s no joke.
After the session I drive over to the studio. I told Chuck that I’d heard the words “true things happen” and that I like the idea of letting things happen so much better than letting go. “Let it happen” sounds so doable, a lot less stressful than “letting go.” To me, letting go implies that I am holding back and can’t let go, which is true, but it also implies that I am at fault, that I am to blame for not letting go. Let it happen, on the other hand, allows me to let myself be open, to acquiesce. Let go, inhibits by its very command and my reaction is: “Oh my God, I can’t! There must be something wrong with me! Why can’t I?” And I start thinking that I’m incapable and then I just tighten up. The phrases let it happen and true things happen are more soothing, allowing me to open, to be flowing, to go with the flow; all of which are much more positive, without a hint of blame, without some other voice making demands. Instead, I simply release and open to the possibilities. Or at least that is my intention! (End of excerpt.)
How many times do we come to the conclusion: “I just have to let go!” But what is the technology of letting go? How do we actually let go?
The realization that one must let go derives from the growing awareness that much of life energy is exhausted by and preoccupied with what has happened in the past. One feels the impact of the unresolved past overshadowing and consuming the present as we obsess about what has happened, how it has impacted us, and how we handled it. Conclusions and fixations from the past define our sense of self, our self-esteem, and the limiting beliefs we are controlled by in everyday life. In effect, as the train of life moves into new territory we find ourselves staring out the back window of the last car, unable to be present for the uniqueness and possibility of unfolding time.
Clearly, the optimal seat on the train is the engineer’s—first car, front window, being fully present to the nuances of oncoming time. In practical terms, this means being mindfully present now. If I sit down to a meal and munch away but my mind is fully engaged in replaying a disturbing incident, I will surely not be present for the flavors and textures of the food, much less a conscious participant of the beginnings of digestion—slow and thorough chewing!
The decision to be present to what is truly occurring now, is a conscious decision to encounter now as it happens. This is at the heart of an existential attitude, to be fully engaged and present for what is happening in the moment, letting it happen by being fully open and present to the full experience of it.
The mechanics of this kind of mindful presence is to volitionally bring one’s attention and intent to the present moment, letting it happen with full participation. Of course, part of being fully present means also being fully present to all that is happening within oneself as one faces oncoming time. In the present moment one might feel a gripping tension in the throat, a holding back of breath, a tightness in the solar plexus, the bladder, and a clenching in the perineum. These energy centers, or chakras, are all revealing their present state of activation and various forms of protective defense. While acknowledging their collective state of anxiety, one is still free to choose to place one’s attention on the present moment, on what is happening, and engage it with conscious awareness.
If one is experiencing waves of terror within, one can still be available to interact with another being—still be fully present, still look the other in the eye, focus on their words, while also noticing one’s own feelings and impressions—in essence, to have the experience of a conscious encounter, no matter what is going on inside oneself.
The act of letting go in “letting it happen” is training awareness to release the stranglehold of the past, just enough to take in now, to be present in everyday life. It is not possible to be present if one does not let go, to some extent, of being completely consumed by the view from the back window. The trick here is to not dissociate from one’s past discomfort as it presents, but to “let it go” just enough to remain aware of the unfolding of present time as well. This is the act of remaining associated, open to the full inclusion of inner and outer experiences, as presented by the clash of the past with oncoming time. This is the kind of fuller awareness that opens doors to new possibilities and new perspectives, as one looks out the back window and the front window of the speeding train of life simultaneously.
Recapitulation, which Jan was in the midst of in the opening quote, requires a conscious choosing to “let it happen,” to acquiesce to what comes in the unfolding of one’s journey through life. “It” may be the full impact of a viscerally stored experience reaching way back in time, through the back window of the train, into early childhood history. However, by consciously choosing to remain present with the experience, one is simultaneously at the front of the train, viewing the experience from a much broadened perspective, a lifetime of experiences providing a lifetime of insights.
“Letting it happen” is the real technology of letting go. In this earth dimension, we are all treated to a reality of oncoming time all the time. To open fully and be present to oncoming time is our opportunity to exercise our freedom. When we exercise that freedom by choosing to be fully present, no matter what comes at us, we release ourselves from the tenets and limitations of the past. And, little by little, we take bold and definite steps toward opening to new and present experiences of life.
Letting it happen,
Note: Volume 4 in the Recapitulation Diaries series, The Place of No Pity, is targeted for publication early next year.