If we will listen with our inner ears, see with our inner eyes, feel with our innermost being, and give our doubting minds a rest, we can each find exactly what we need for our self-development. With this in mind, let’s go deeply inside the phrase ‘let go and let God,’ a much-loved phrase in which there’s more than meets the eye.
“Letting go” means to let go of the limited ego, with its narrow understanding, its preconceived ideas and its demanding self-will. It means letting go of our suspicions and misconceptions, our fears and lack of trust. Moreover, it means letting go of the tightly held attitude that says, in so many words, “The only way I can be happy is if so-and-so does such-and-such. Life must go exactly according to my plan.”
It often seems we’re being asked to let go of some precious thing that, in itself, is a legitimate desire we should be able to have. So does letting go of the little ego’s self-will doom us to settling for less than our heart’s desire? Must we be unhappy and unfulfilled forever? Is it wrong to strive for fulfillment? Or are we supposed to let go of that too?
The ultimate aim of “letting God” is to activate God from our heart center, from the innermost place of our being where God speaks to us if we’re willing to listen. But before this highest, most secure and blissful state can be reached, we may need to do some housecleaning, removing obstacles and clearing up dualistic confusions.
It often happens that we are able to comprehend a great spiritual concept in general terms, but we can’t see how it applies to our daily life. We think our everyday reactions to our puny little problems are too mundane to be connected with the greater issues of life. Yet it is only by making the connections in our so-called insignificant areas that we can uncover the key to our conflicts and the confusions—those things which make it impossible to apply great spiritual truths to our lives.
Like all things, any great truth can be distorted and handled in the wrong way. Take, for instance, the truth that we live in a loving, giving and abundant universe and we are not required to suffer. We might believe this but then go about overusing our will—called using a forcing current—in an attempt to get what we want.
To say we must let go of our forcing current seems to imply we have to resign ourselves to emptiness, pain and suffering—that our longing will never be fulfilled. In an effort to avoid this, we hold on tight, squeezing out the influx of energy that ushers in the world of light and love and truth and abundance—all the good stuff.
This divine influx can only flow when it is let loose, allowed to follow its own harmonious rhythm. So there can’t be any hard knots of energy prohibiting the divine flow, such as our self-will creates through its distrusting, insisting, anxious forcing current. These qualities belie an imbalance of trust. What’s being trusted is the little, limited ego, while the greater divine self—the Higher Self—is being denied and pushed away. This doesn’t mean we should be denying the ego, but it needs to expand its wisdom and creativity, allowing the divine influx to flow freely.
All of our various attitudes create energy systems. A tight holding-on attitude results in a closed energy system, which is not hard to observe with our regular eyes. We see it in the way the creative spark is squelched wherever a few power-driven people impose their will over others. Such domination stems from fear and creates more fear. It also creates a closed system that generates resistance, although out of their own fear and weakness, people may temporarily submit to such tyranny.
But eventually the time must come when each and every fearful person will stand up and throw off the chains. If we look back through history, we can see that this has always been true. It’s only in our confusion that we view this healthy movement as a general rebelliousness. But an act of self-responsibility and self-discipline is not the same as an act of childish self-will that refutes genuine authority.
Inwardly, though, when we assume responsibility for ourselves, we may rebel against the short-term uncertainty of stepping into what seems like a vacuum, created after we give up our tight self-will and start to let go. We’d rather trust our own false gods—namely, our ego—than trust the process of letting go.
In our relationships with other people, we can observe how our forcing current exerts a subtle pressure saying, “You have to love me.” Sadly, this creates anything but love. Perhaps we feel it would be impossible to give up our demand because we can’t stand the idea of not being loved. Aren’t we entitled to getting some love? Isn’t this benign universe supposed to give it to us? How can we possibly give up our demand and be content with the bleak emptiness we fear will follow?
These are good questions. But they don’t change the truth that the attitude that says ‘you must’ draws everything else but love to our doorstep. It’s just a fact that a closed energy system sprouting out of distrust, non-love, power-drives and half-truths cannot breed love. Perhaps we can sense this tightness in ourselves, this holding on out of fear. Our unwillingness to let go always points to an inner struggle about knowing what to trust: God or our little ego.
If we want to learn to trust God, we will need to travel through some interim self-created states of mind. But as so often happens, we are hoping we can avoid what we ourselves have created, including pain, confusion, emptiness and fear. Nonetheless, these are the things we’re going to need to embrace so we can come to understand them on our way to dissolving them.
There’s a huge difference between thinking a temporary state of reality is the final story—so we should keep it at arms length—and knowing it’s only temporary. If we think a condition is final, we’ll either resist letting it go or we’ll fall into a pit of resignation, believing we’ll be unhappy and helpless forever.
That’s why we pitch such a fit about letting go. We’d rather keep things the way they are than risk falling into these states of consciousness we created and through which we are destined to go before we can let go and create the life we long for. This is our current dilemma, even though letting go and letting God feels wonderful and safe. We just need to give it a try so we can have this experience, and so our resistance to letting go will finally, well, let go. This isn’t a one-time event. We have to make this decision to let go over and over.
If we notice a certain tightness in ourselves at this suggestion, we can likely trace it to a current that says, “But I want it so bad.” Our desperation, though, is not caused by not having what we want—it is due to the tightness that is shutting God out. Our contracted state of tightness comes from a concept of poverty that justifies our belief that we need to grasp and hold on.
We mistakenly think that giving up our tight self-will means giving up our wish. It really means giving up the insistence of our wish. So the wish must be let loose temporarily, which is totally different from giving it up altogether. We need to momentarily give up the ‘who, what, where, when and how’ of the thing we want. Once we’ve let it go, we may be able to come back to the same ‘who, what, where, when and how,’ but the wish can then manifest in a completely different climate.
Often the thing that limits our wish fulfillment is our insistence that fulfillment can only come in one specific way. But if we let the creative process have some rope and margin, we’ll experience that it by far surpasses what we hoped for or could visualize. Our ego mind can hardly conceive of the richness of the universe. We need to learn to empty ourselves in the moment so the divine can reveal itself to us. This is what it means to “let God.”
Another thing we may need to let go of is our negative image of our life in which we think we can only suffer. A hidden belief such as this must be examined and ousted so we can inactivate its energetic power to create. This can’t happen if we’re holding on in a fighting spirit against such a negative belief.
It’s the same if we’re sending out currents of domination over those we love, fighting against their imperfections and immaturities that cause us pain. We do so because we don’t trust that our inner God—our Higher Self with its divine aspects and connection—can produce fulfillment for us unless we rule over others, imposing our ideas on them. The issue is not about how right or wrong our ideas are, but about our insisting that others follow them.
This is the conflict humanity finds itself caught in: we either hold on, bracing against the bleakness, hurt feelings and empty existence we fear will be our fate if we let go, or we resign ourselves to such a dismal state so we can not hold on. Welcome back to the land of duality. It’s either a forcing current or resigned acceptance of a miserable state, which of course makes us hopeless and causes us to harbor a belief that life is fundamentally cruel. Seldom does this conflict apply to every area of our life, but almost always we can see where it applies to some.
Outwardly, we may lean more towards one of these attitudes, but we can then be sure the other lies hiding in the wings. So if, for example, we are outwardly very aggressive and forceful, we may tend to get our way through sheer force, cleverly manipulating people or possibly persuading using dishonesty. If this is the case—perhaps only in certain areas—we’re using some of our energy to cover up our despair and resignation, our distrust of life.
Conversely, we might be the type who, more than anything, wants to get along with others; we depend on them and don’t want to antagonize them. Beneath this must be a desire to dominate, which we might enact through submission: “I’ll be happy to do whatever you say, so then you’ll be bound to me and have to obey me. I’ll make sure you feel too guilty to offend me, after I’ve proven how obedient I am to you.” Such hidden attitudes must be found and explored.
Once we become aware of one attitude manifesting outwardly, we must not be deluded into thinking the opposite doesn’t exist in us. If we’re outwardly dominant, it may be harder to find the inner hopelessness. If we’re outwardly weak, dependent and submissive, we may struggle in dealing with our covert manipulation. Two sides, one coin.
If our chosen strategy seems to work—we seem to get our way—it will be harder to see all that we miss. But eventually, life is going to bring home the truth that our succeeding is an illusion. We’re fighting a state of emptiness that only exists because of our chosen solution. If we see this, perhaps it will motivate us to stop chasing our tail and start dealing with this struggle.
The problem with all of our defensive strategies is that momentarily they may work. But in the long run, they don’t give us what we’re really yearning for: real fulfillment. The very use of the pseudo-solution of aggression or submission—or perhaps withdrawal into false serenity, if nothing else works—makes this impossible.
Let’s say, for instance, that we want love and closeness with another person. But we’re certain we won’t get this if things are left to the others free will. Let’s further suppose we like to rule by demanding and coercing, using jealousy, domination and possessiveness. Keep in mind, we can come at this from either side, overtly or covertly, ruling by dependency and blaming and making the other feel guilty as an option.
If the other partially truly loves us, but also partially needs us neurotically, they will submit to our rule. But they are going to also resent us and blame us and defy us—even though they have their own skin in the game and are party to this arrangement. So yay, we succeeded. But what did we get? It won’t fill our real need for closeness as we will constantly be battling those reactions that we are half-responsible for. Worst of all, the negative reactions from the other will validate our hidden belief that ‘see, I knew it’s a cruel world and I can never be happy.’ Third verse, same as the first.
But what would happen if we let go of the reins? What if we had the courage and integrity to let go, notwithstanding our fear that our partner would leave? If we lose, what have we lost? But if we win, imagine the joy of finding out the other wants to love us freely, without needing to be dominated, coerced or manipulated. That’s the true richness we’ve been looking for.
And what if we were to lose this person—does this mean we must be alone forever? Of course not. But temporarily, we may have to dip into the bleakness so we can dissolve the power it has to obstruct us. In doing so, we “let God.”
Make a note of this: divine creation wants nothing but the best for us. If we can confront our doubt that this is true, we can start to establish trust. We can come to have faith in the abundance of life by looking at where we won’t let go and let God because that seems to connote resignation to an unfulfilled life. We can sense the shift in our inner being when we stop grabbing; we can then visualize ourselves in a patient, humble state of mind, confident that the universe will give us its best.
Abundance is floating around us constantly, but our clogged energy systems and defensive strategies create walls that close us off from it. In a closed energy system, we see ourselves as paupers and don’t avail ourselves of our own wealth. Whether we want a relationship, a specific job, friends, people who will buy what we’re selling or receive what we’re giving or give us what we’re looking for, we need to live in an open energy system. We must be willing to reach out into life and claim its riches.
To be energetically compatible with the riches of the universe, we have to be rich ourselves. Being rich implies we’re generous, humble and honest enough to not exert force over others. If we’re rich, we don’t need to force, because forcing really amounts to stealing and we know there’s no reason to force when what we desire will be freely given to us. Here’s the grand irony: what the universe wants to give us freely becomes inaccessible when we force.
By the same token, when we won’t let go, we violate our own sense of integrity. Deep down, this makes us doubt ourselves and our right to be happy. To not let go then is like being a beggar, grasping at straws in an effort to be happy. But if we’re willing to let go, we can establish the fact of our ultimate richness deep in our psyche. This may mean we need to take a hard look at our illusions and pretenses, and all our little dishonesties. But cleared of these distortions, we will be rich indeed.
The key to creating an open energy system is letting go into trust. But we can’t get there is one giant step. We must lay down some intermediate links, without skipping steps along the way. These links will build a bridge to having genuine, positive expectations about life free from pressure, anxiety and doubt. We’ll develop a deep faith in a kind and caring universe where we can have the very best, in every possible way. What a valuable key.
To create the open energy system needed for richness to flow into us—from outside ourselves and surfacing from within—we need to have a richness that can afford to lose in the moment. Then we’ll be able to tolerate the short-lived pain of finding out what really blocks our fulfillment; we’ll have the patience to remove the obstruction by changing a faulty inner attitude. That’s the path to building richness from our poverty.
Here are the steps we must take. Step One: find where we struggle between pushing and applying pressure, and falling into hopelessness. Step Two: realize that this conflict exists because we’re convinced we’re poor and can’t have what we want without forcing and holding on. Step Three: commit to finding out the real reason for our nonfulfillment by surfacing misconceptions about life, unearthing our negative intention towards life, feeling the pain of not having our desires met and our belief that it will always be so. This will require honesty, patience and perseverance in working with someone who can help us see our hidden distortions. Plus we’ll need to have the humility to not blame others or the universe for our own poverty, but instead search our own soul for where it lives inside us.
We all feel rich in some areas and poor in others. Maybe we’re rich in the area of creative talents—its like a stream that never ceases to flow—but we feel poor about ever finding true mutuality in a relationship. Another may feel secure in that area, but doubt they can ever have financial security. We need to get clear about which we experience where.
Where we are rich, we will always be rich because we have an open, giving and honest attitude. But where we’re poor, we’ll be poor until we see what we’ve been blind to. What does it look like when we believe we are poor? Wherever we are pushing, domineering and manipulating, we are essentially cheating. When put into words, our behavior is basically saying, “I will force you to give me what you won’t freely give me. If power doesn’t work, I’ll use trickery. I’ll make you feel guilty for not giving me what I want, and will blame you for making me a victim. I’ll accuse you of doing what I am secretly doing.” It would take a miracle to find any love in that. This is an unfair, cheating attitude that totally attempts to stomp on the freedom of the other person. The energetic form of it is a tight prison or a short leash.
On the other hand, an open energy system would sound more like this: “Since I love you, I would be happy to have your love. But I give you the freedom to come to me if and when you choose. If you don’t love me, I have no right to make you feel guilty by pretending that I am devastated by this.” There is an honesty, decency and integrity in this that creates richness.
We are entitled to want a loving relationship, or to have financial security or whatever, but going about it the wrong way prohibits fulfillment and is essentially dishonest. Because if we feel poor, we think we must steal. And if we keep stealing, we keep staying poor, for only the honest are deserving of the riches. Stealing leads to guilt and our guilt produces doubt that we are entitled to receive freely. Toot toot, the train’s back at the station.
It may help to understand the difference between guilt and shame and remorse. When we feel guilt, we are in effect saying, “I’m beyond redemption and deserve to feel devastated.” We feel this way because we believe that our Lower Self is all of us. Our Lower Self is the part characterized by our negativity, immaturity, destructiveness, ignorance, malice, spite, dishonesty and manipulation, but this is only a temporary aspect of us, brought here to Earth so we can recognize it and transform it.
We need to be aware of the powerful and dangerous wrong thinking that this is who we are. It’s not true and it’s an insult to God and all of creation, of which we—including our Higher Self—are an integral part.
Our self-devastating guilt is also integrally linked with our distrust of life, causing us to cut ourselves off from the flow of divinity by going immediately to whitewashing our faults and failings—which of course are the areas we need to be facing and honestly owning. Going over to this opposite extreme is a defense against acknowledging our shortcomings for which we feel such self-devastating guilt.
Our guilt reveals a denial of the true nature of life; it’s a lack of trust in an all-loving, all-giving universe open to all created beings. It’s not a constructive attitude, nor is it realistic, and it won’t lead us anywhere good on our path of self-purification. We must deal with our double-edged distortion around guilt—either ‘I’m all bad’, or ‘I’m totally in the good’—and set it right.
How about shame? Shame is an emotion connected to vanity and appearance. We might be ashamed to let others see some aspect of ourselves because we like to pretend we are better than we are. The ego’s ideal version of the self is more important than what’s real and true, so we lose contact with the treasure of our real self.
Whereas guilt relates to how we feel about our inner self—we’re playing a game about how devastated we are about it and we exaggerate it—shame is about our image in other people’s eyes; we’re putting up a pretense about who we really are and don’t want to be seen in truth.
True remorse has nothing to do with either guilt or shame. With remorse, we are simply recognizing where we fall short—our faults and impurities, our shortcomings and limitations—admitting that there are parts of us that violate spiritual law. We feel regret and are willing to admit the truth about our destructiveness, recognizing that it’s a useless waste of energy and hurts others and ourselves. We sincerely want to change.
With remorse, our self-confrontation is completely different from self-devastating guilt or shame. If we feel remorseful, it is possible to say, “It’s true that I have this or that shortcoming or fault—I’m petty or dishonest, I have false pride or hatred or whatever—but this isn’t all of who I am. The part of me that recognizes, regrets and wants to change is aligned with my divine self—my Higher Self—which ultimately will overcome whatever I feel remorseful about.” In this case, the “I” that can dislike aspects of ourselves and wants to change those destructive, untruthful, deviating aspects doesn’t fall apart, even as it notices that something needs to be healed.
Guilt involves a lack of faith in all that is, while shame is all about appearances and it will lift off the more we risk exposing our defects and aligning with the truth of who we really are. Remorse is an emotion that will carry us home, feeling the sadness of the effects of our Lower Self and motivating us to discover the true source of all life, which is what we can find when we let go and let God.
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