Over the years I’ve found that letting go baffles people. They are eager to let go of things that bring pain and suffering, yet by some perverse irony, the shackles refuse to drop away. Abused spouses don’t walk out on their abusers. Addicts reach for more of what is destroying them. Anger, fear, and violence roam the mind at will, even though a person has tried with all his might to renounce them. How do you let go of stuff that is attached to you so stubbornly?
Telling someone who’s stuck to “just let go” is as futile as telling someone who is hysterical to “just calm down.” Negative things stick to us because they are tied to an underlying energy that doesn’t want to move away. Angry people don’t need a specific reason to get angry; they only need a pretext for releasing the pent-up energy that keeps them at a constant simmer. Anxious people are worried inside, not about any one thing, but about fear itself. To be free, you must find a way to let go of all the stuck energy that keeps sending out the same old messages. The ability to let go is more complex than it sounds, but nothing is more crucial.
Your stuck energies force you to be someone who doesn’t exist anymore: the angry child deprived of love, the frightened child who doesn’t feel safe. The past is a false guide to the future, and yet it’s what most of us rely upon. By letting go of stuck energies, you let go of your past. Go deep enough and you can let go of time itself. In that release lies ultimate freedom. All of human history rests in you. Yours is the grief of the world and its sorrows, and its fear and anger. Some might feel despair to hear this truth, but why not feel joy? To think that in liberating yourself you liberate the world. What stakes could be higher?
Adapted from Why is God Laughing? by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2008).