letting go: “… To gain the universe, have no plan at all Let the universe itself reveal to you its splendor …” … “… Become totally empty Quiet the restlessness of the mind Only then will you witness everything unfolding from emptiness …” ~ Lao Tzu
Indeed Lao Tzu is simply reminding us of the profound power of letting go … and in these verses he refers to the ultimate letting go, i.e., surrendered to the universe or utterly empty … and with that they also reveal the paradoxical power of letting go …
And if one believes in, or subscribes to, the notion that the Tao infused navigation of life brings peace and contentment then verse 40 of Tao Te Ching is a powerful testimonial for letting go: “… The way of the Tao is to yield…” or verse 75 “… In the end, the treasure of life is missed by those who hold on and gained by those who let go …”
And as we all know well that Mother Nature is an ongoing and continuous example of letting go … so much so that in Chinese the word for nature is ziran: as Alan Watts explains: “… “ziran,” which means “that which happens of itself; not under any control of any outside boss.” …” …
Of course, the principle of letting go is not just at the heart of Taoism but all spiritual traditions …
Peter Russell, who has taken a deep dive into this topic, underscores this fact in his 2021 book Letting Go of Nothing by opening the Preface with: “The call to let go lies at the heart of the world’s spiritual traditions. Not being attached to outcomes, surrendering desires, accepting the present, opening to a higher power, relinquishing the ego, practicing forgiveness — all entail letting go.”
One of the key reasons letting go is at the heart of all traditions is because it is one of the keys to dissolving much of our suffering … as Peter aptly adds in the Preface that by letting go we “… realize that what we were seeking by holding on — safety, happiness, joy, peace of mind — was there all along. But our holding on veiled its presence …” …
The holding on (or not letting go) shows up in our everyday life in the form of “… beliefs, projections, expectations, interpretations, attitudes, and attachments …” which are not things … and they exist only in the mind … so the act of letting go is not “… things themselves as much as the way we see them …” which is why Peter titled his book Letting Go of Nothing or as he “… sometimes like to put it, “Letting Go of No-Thing.” …”
So today we partake some of Peter’s deep dive via our 5-part series where we offer an in-depth preview of the book through certain chapter excerpts … starting with Eckhart Tolle’s Foreword … followed by Letting In … Just Pause …. Savoring the Moment … and Letting Go to the Future …
This book is An Eckhart Tolle Edition (an imprint of New World Library – the publisher of Peter’s book) that offers “… life-changing works, both old and new, that have been personally selected by Eckhart Tolle … books that can powerfully aid in transforming consciousness and awakening readers to a life of purpose and presence.”
All italicized text in this post (except Lao Tzu’s quotes/Tao Te Ching verse excerpts) is from Letting Go of Nothing: Relax Your Mind and Discover the Wonder of Your True Nature by Peter Russell and is published here with his generous permission. Peter has also generously offered a free downloadable PDF of the Table of Contents (link is at the bottom of the post).
Here are all of Peter’s posts on Stillness Speaks … and his website – a treasure trove of wisdom: rich, diverse, and valuable content for your journey … and his YouTube channel where he frequently posts videos.
Eckhart Tolle‘s Foreword: Letting Go of Nothing…
Eckhart’s closing paragraph sums it up well : “… I suggest you use this book as a manual for this inner letting go, the primary spiritual practice. What is the criterion for progress on this path? Thought increasingly loses its capacity to make you unhappy! You are less reactive in the face of challenging situations or people. You recognize worry as futile and destructive, so you are able to let it go when it happens. You find inner peace and contentment in the present moment. And perhaps you begin to realize that you are not a person but an essential and intrinsic part of the evolution of universal consciousness. …”
Tolle makes the case for this inner letting go by opening the Foreword with: “… Since ancient times, the practice of letting go has been recognized in both Eastern and Western religious traditions as a prerequisite for self-transcendence and spiritual awakening. It was usually equated with giving up all the things the egoic self derives its sustenance from. …”
Then he goes on to show that “… Without realizing it, these spiritual practitioners had found themselves trapped again in a conceptual identity. Most of them tended to place excessive emphasis on letting go of externals, thus neglecting the inner aspect of letting go. One could say that, seemingly paradoxically, they let go of everything but failed to let go of no-thing.
And he adds that Peter’s “… invaluable book will be an essential companion on your spiritual path. It clearly shows the importance of the inner dimension of letting go, the letting go of attachment to thought as well as to emotions, which are the reflections of thought. …”
Click here for Eckhart’s entire Foreword … including his own view of letting go.
Letting In: The 1st Step…
“… To let in an experience means to allow it more fully into awareness …”
“… The first step in letting go is to let in. Initially, this may sound counterintuitive. We assume that letting go of something means getting rid of it, pushing it away. If we want to let go of some grievance, we may try not to think about what the other person did and how awful they were. Or if we want to let go of our attachment to money, we may try to stop worrying about our finances, pushing such concerns to the back of our mind. However, the central idea of this book is that we should do the opposite. In order to release the grip our mind has on some attitude or idea, we first need to let in the experience of holding on. If we are not aware we are holding on to a rock, we cannot let our grip relax. …”
Just pause. Nothing else.
And notice your experience. Notice what is there. In this moment. …”
Savoring the Moment
“… Now is the only moment we will ever know. Our memories of the past are experiences in the present. So are our thoughts about the future. So when we talk about not being present, we mean our attention is not on the present moment. It is focused on thoughts about the past or future. …”
Letting Go to the Future … to meet the unexpected…
How do we navigate the undeniable accelerated pace of change in our times ? Here’s some of what Peter has to say:
“… In a forest, a storm may be raging in the treetops while down on the ground all is still. So, too, we’ll benefit from abiding in the stillness of our own being. Amid all the impermanence of life, this is one permanent place of refuge — the ever-present, unchanging quality of “I am,” the calm center of our ever-turning world. There we can tap a source of wisdom and inspiration untainted by the agendas of ego-mind.
In short, we’ll need to let go of whatever stands in the way of our being smarter, more creative, more resourceful, and more compassionate human beings, more in touch with our self, able to respond to change with greater clarity and wisdom. …”
Click here for the full post Letting Go to the Future … and find out why Peter concludes with:
“… And, most important, we are making it attractive, something people desire — which takes us back to Ajahn Chah’s words, which opened this book:
If you let go a little, you have a little peace.
If you let go a lot, you have a lot of peace.
If you let go completely, you have complete peace.”
Stay tuned for other original and fresh content from authors and teachers like … Alan Watts, Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, and more …