My sister is always suggesting I try to “detach from outcome.” I admit, I always kind of blew it off. But today, after sending her some frantic texts about a situation that has been causing me a lot of anxiety, and she offered the same advice, I decided to Google it.
I particularly liked the article titled ” ‘Let Go, or Get Dragged’: Find Your Peace by Letting Go.” It includes signs that you are holding on and getting dragged, including:
- Constantly thinking about a person or situation.
- Trying to control a person or situation and create the outcome you want.
- Engaging in rigid, all-or-nothing thinking.
- Experiencing body tension and stress.
And yes, those are allllll things I do, generally on a daily basis.
The article points out that “if we relax and let go, we may feel we are giving up, giving in or losing control.” Hoooo boy, is that one hitting close to home too. I feel like worrying about something incessantly is part of caring. If I don’t worry about an outcome incessantly, how will the universe know I REALLY REALLY REALLY want it?! How will I MAKE it happen through the magical power of my worrying?
Buddhaimonia has a great article on “The Beginner’s Guide to Letting Go and Becoming Enlightened Through Non-Attachment” by Matt Valentine. It clarifies that:
All attachment originates with the ego. The ego, a construct which was built through years of conditioning and is in no way a “real” part of you at all, is what convinces you that you’re this separate entity disconnected from all other living and non-living things. And when reality doesn’t match up to the image, friction happens and pain occurs.
This is part of resisting what is so, which has been a struggle for me in the past. I can’t know what an outcome will be. I can’t control what the outcome will be, either. So instead of resigning myself to the fact that I can neither see nor determine the future, I ruminate over it incessantly. I try to divine it from little signs. I try to seek reassurance from friends who I hope will convince me things will go the way I want them to. I try to obsess my desired outcome into reality.
Instead, I should be focusing on:
- Recognizing that I can always choose to let go.
- Remembering that letting go doesn’t mean that I don’t care about a person, situation or outcome.
- Watching for the physical and emotional signs that I am “hanging on.”
- Investigating my fears of losing control of a situation (or person).
- Realizing and respecting the impermanence of life.
- Remembering that the outcome I’m attached to may not in fact be the outcome that God has in mind for me. It may be something far better than what I am currently hoping for, something that in my limited view of time and space, I can’t see. (Remember that Garth Brooks song “Unanswered Prayers”?)
Lama Surya Das says, “Letting go means letting be, not throwing things away. Letting go implies letting things come and go, and opening to the wisdom of simply allowing, which is called nonattachment.”
Allow your life to be what it is. Allow events to unfold as they will. And know that however it happens, you will be okay. (I’ll be over here trying to do the same!)