We must talk about the concept of ‘letting go’ at Bondi Meditation Centre almost as often as we talk about meditation itself. The two are entwined. Letting go of control helps our meditation become easier and the more we practice our effortless technique the more we are able to let go and roll with the punches in life.
But letting go is not a simple on/off switch. Most of us don’t just completely let go of our need to control our experience one day and become spontaneously enlightened. It is a gradual loosening of our grip on how we think everything should be towards an acceptance of, and eventually surrender to, what ‘is’.
It’s this last bit that has been fascinating me lately: the graduation from acceptance to surrender. I used to think that surrender and acceptance were one and the same. I now realise that true surrender, for me at least, came further along the journey when I had been practising acceptance for some time. David Hawkins gives us a clue to this which I only just noticed in the title of his book “Letting Go…the pathway to surrender” (by the way I realise I am not giving any helpful instruction on how to actually ‘let go’ or surrender here – for that I highly recommend you read the aforementioned book)
Acceptance is an allowing. As such it has the power to revolutionise our experience. While pain is inevitable (for example if we lose someone we love we will inevitably feel the pain of grief), the Vedic view is that suffering is optional. The amount we suffer is exactly proportionate to the amount we resist. The more we accept a situation, the more quickly we will process that experience and achieve the growth that it was intended to bring to us. Surrender is the natural product of continual acceptance and takes the whole thing to the next level.
Whereas with acceptance we adopt a kind of neutrality about seemingly negative or challenging events with a sense of understanding that they are necessary for evolution, everything happens for a reason etc, with surrender we take it a step further. We welcome the challenge lovingly, we greet it at the door, we collaborate with it as a friend come to help us. Through this unconditional cooperation with life we access a state of consciousness in which the best, most creative response to any situation arises naturally. Life becomes more playful and fear dissolves. Challenges are no longer greeted with dread but with something closer to excitement as we look forward to interacting with them and uncovering the gifts they contain.
This might sound like a fantasy but with regular meditation and making letting go a way of life it is not only achievable, it is inevitable.