Learning to Let Go

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In Western psychological terms, you don’t say to somebody, “Give up anger.” You say, “Work it out. Understand it. Go to the source of it.” Maharaj-ji didn’t say that to me, he simply said, “Let it go.”

So, when a woman came to me yesterday and said that she worried a lot, I said, “Well, there are two questions. First, is the worrying functional, is it gonna get you where you want to go, does it help solve the situation? Second, does it get you enlightened?” I mean, that’s all part of the first question, is it functional? Then, if it’s not functional, do you want to get rid of it? And if you want to get rid of it and it’s not functional, the next thing is, every time it comes up to let it go.

Now, that sounds absolutely off the wall psychologically. And what happens is you’ve gotta get it very early. You’ve gotta get it as it comes up, because once it’s up, it has all kinds of secondary effects in terms of adrenaline and all kinds of stuff because then it feeds upon itself. But you’ve got to have made the commitment,“I really want to let go of that stuff; it’s not getting me to God; I don’t need it anymore.” Then every time it comes up you get it out; you get rid of it.

When you ask how to deal with the effects of early experiences, what I see is similar to what I have seen with a lot of my friends who are meditation teachers. For example, They got so far in meditation; they got very evolved and then, because they’re Westerners, they began to feel the psychological problems that were coming to the surface and they needed a fair witness. They needed somebody who was oriented towards that plane of reality, to reflect back to them what was going on for them psychologically.

And so a number of them, though we talked about it, figured out an appropriate therapist for themselves, and these were people who were advanced spiritual teachers in the community. They went into therapy, about five years ago I went into therapy for maybe 3-4 months. And it was as if there was stuff in me that was so ripe, and I so wanted to let it go, and as I brought it up, the person reflected back, and immediately it was cleared away. It wasn’t the thing where we had to deal with the deeper dynamics of the struggle of my not wanting to let it go, because it was so ripe.

And then I got to the point where I saw that the deeper stuff was gonna take a much longer time, and then I went back into my spiritual practices. And you can use the relationship between those things in a very powerful way. Because the spiritual practice keeps coming, meditation is an exquisite method of playing, of dealing with the mechanics of the mind. It deals with how you think, not what you think about. As it deals with the mechanics, in that very impersonal way, it forces the content up to the surface.

 

-Ram Dass

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