When caught up in a strong belief,
Needing to be liked, to be right about something.
Or stuck in a strong emotion, ask yourself,
“Could I, just could I, let it go?”
Could you abandon your position?
Could you open your clenched fist
And allow whatever is held there to drop to the floor?
Are you willing for your position to be defeated,
Even when you think that you are right?
When you have no position left,
When you are the village idiot,
How does the world smell to you now?
During the Second World War, there was a street in London where certain families had not spoken to each other for decades. Resentment of transgressions long past was clung to obsessively, even passed from one generation to the next. As London was mercilessly bombarded during the blitz, these families were forced to share the same air raid shelter. Faced with the same mortal threat, it took no time at all for them to forget their grievances. Friendships were struck up. People who had not spoken for years began to support each other, help each other, swap jokes and laugh together.
So much of what we think hinders us is actually optional, necessary only in the mind. If your life depended on it, you could let it go.
This practice is not intended to put you under pressure to let things go. That only creates resistance. The exercise is simply to inquire and evaluate, in a relaxed way, if is possible to let it go. Simply this discrimination, between what is obligatory and what is optional, is liberation. Letting go does not happen primarily in the mind—it happens in the body. You do not need to decide to let go; you need only ask yourself if it is possible. In the recognition of this possibility, something happens in the body: a deep sigh, a muscle spasm, or a release of tension you might not have even known was there, and what had seem to be a prison becomes a choice again. There is no need to know where a belief comes from, or to try to change it in any way, or to understand anything at all. It is enough to feel into the essence of any contraction. That alone will release tremendous energy. That very energy becomes awakening, and connects us to what is real.
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