Letting go hurts, but clinging to the elusive does more

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Robert Maurer
@robertmaurer
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Letting go, two words that are said in less than a second but whose practice can change your life. Letting go is one of the most difficult exercises that, sooner or later, we will have to face. And if we don't learn to let go of our own accord, we will have to learn to let go anyway - life will take it upon itself to teach us - and that means we will suffer more.

Worry about holding on, we forget to let go

The desire to cling to things collides head-on with an inherent characteristic of reality: impermanence. Nothing remains stable, everything changes. Time takes away our goods, relationships, people, social status, health… This is why the claim to preserve and retain is absurd and only generates pain.



However, we are not ready to let go. They taught us to hold onto and hold onto. We accumulate objects, relationships, power, money, property, titles… In this way we pursue an illusory security that can crumble at any moment like a house of cards, but which to us seems an impregnable fortress.

That state of mind, in which we conceive of nothing but clinging, is mainly responsible for the deep pain we feel when we separate from something or someone. Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj summed it up masterfully: “the river of life flows between the banks of pain and pleasure. Only when the mind refuses to flow with life and stagnates on the banks does it become a problem. Scrolling means acceptance; let what is coming come, let go of what is leaving. "

Of course, it's not always easy to let go. When there are deep emotional bonds, letting go hurts. But it will hurt even more if we cling to the elusive, if we intend to grasp what flows by its very nature.


We can prove this with a simple experiment. Take an apple and hold it for a second with your hand slightly raised. Not heavy, right? Let five minutes pass and you will begin to feel slight discomfort. After half an hour, you probably won't be able to take it anymore and that apple will feel like the heaviest thing you've ever supported.


The weight of the apple has not changed. What happened is you held her back too long. If you had dropped it on the table earlier you would not have had a sore arm. The same happens to us in life. We cling to something that is no longer, to a memory that belongs to the past, to an irrecoverable relationship, to a person who is no longer the same or who is not even by our side, to a situation that has lost its reason for being. , to a goal that has vanished before our eyes ...

As Hermann Hesse said: "Some people think that clinging to things makes them stronger, but sometimes it takes more strength to let go than to hold back."

Losing the fear of losing

Learning to let go doesn't mean we shouldn't fight for things or people we believe are worth it. Fighting for what we want is fair, but we also need to be smart enough to know when it's time to let go, so that our life doesn't become a futile battle against windmills.

At some point, we have to ask ourselves why we persistently cling to something that no longer makes sense. The most common cause is the fear of loss. If we think that in life we ​​should only win and accumulate, we will associate loss with failure.


Fear of losing what we know is also an obstacle to letting go. Many times we prefer the certainty of misery to the misery of uncertainty. We cling to something or someone in the secret hope that nothing changes, but in this way we will postpone the inevitable, harming ourselves and others, trying to act like a small dam in front of the flooded stream that is life.



When we cling "tooth and nail" to the known, we are moving - slowly but surely - towards suffering. Because life goes on, but we get stuck, reproducing behavioral patterns and maladaptive thoughts that perpetuate the pain.

Losing the fear of losing is extremely liberating. We must learn to remove layer by layer, let go of the ballast, depriving ourselves of constraints and limiting beliefs, to embrace the freedom that comes from learning to flow.


Only when we separate from the old can we truly open up to the new. Only when we let go of everything we think we are can we become who we want to be.

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