To let go, we must first agree that what we are holding on to is not worth our grasp. Yet this is so difficult for us to do! What makes it so hard? Even when we are holding onto what is causing pain and misery, we would rather embrace the suffering than give ourselves up to whatever else there might be. It's like when you are in a yoga posture that challenges you, and all you can think about is how much longer you can bear it. Yet the yoga happens when you want to exit the pose, when the mind wants to go somewhere else, when you think there is something better so you rush out of the moment. The yoga happens when you find yourself right there, the timeless eternal being that you are, gazing right back at you, and suddenly everything is fine. This is the letting go.
Your small self, partly wrapped up in the human mind, acts as if it knows something. It acts towards staying alive. It wants to keep things the way it has 'known' them, so it can be organized, fit for survival. Evolution has done a great job of simplifying this, so our organism can focus on the material needs. Avoid pain, move towards pleasure. Run from the predator, get the food. Find the mate, propagate the species. Our lives and our ancestors lives going back many, many millions of years have been governed by these basic mechanisms. Yet now we are at a stage in evolution where we have satisfied our basic needs so completely that we are fabricating perceived threats to keep the mind occupied.
We live in a world that is now governed by empty threats. Stress is the number one killer in America, being the leading cause of heart disease - even above factors like 'genetics' , diet, history of smoking, etc. Our organisms have not fully adapted to being in such freedom. Yet there seems to be something pulling us towards further evolutionary advancement and it's not additional physical traits that will help us to move up the ladder of evolution. Perhaps the answer now, is a spiritual one. Perhaps now, we are surpassing our old, outdated animal nature and moving into higher states of consciousness that allow for transcendence of the material plane?
We certainly experience both ends of the spectrum - the animal nature side of us, which primarily dictates our sensory experiences and can be difficult to manage at times (anyone ever had a late night ice cream craving?) and the spiritual side, the human quest for unraveling the mysteries of the unknown, the unsatisfactory answers we receive from science that leave us ultimately unfulfilled and turning our eye towards the F word.
Faith is this solution, the variables being letting go and being open. That brings me to wrapping up this post. Yes, the F word. Faith. From time immemorable, since the etchings of written history and perhaps even before then, humans have been explaining the ways by which we liberate ourselves from our lower consciousness (animal nature) and step into the higher conscious beings that we are. In order to stop living under every beck and whim of our small self, governed by old patterns and habits that have been forever in our evolutionary survival toolkit, we have to give ourselves up to something that we cannot sense with our five senses. This is necessitated as an act of faith.
It is through letting go, being open, and living in faith that we can establish a relationship with something way beyond our comprehension. We can step into a higher 'Self' that is governed by love, compassion, joy, and peace. These are the promises of all major religious texts. This is indeed the ultimate realization through the practical science of yoga.
Yoga is the modern human science of evolving the spirit. Through yoga, we practice letting go and being open. We work on the material body to remove ourselves from its bondage, moving into the spiritual state of being that is our true nature. May your practice provide you with the tools to let go, be open, live with faith, and step into your highest Self. Sat, chit, Amanda. Truth, consciousness, bliss.
Peace and light,