Letting go. How the f**k is one supposed to let go? So many times over the last few months I’ve heard “Mark, you must let go! You’ll get everything you desire (!) if you’ll just let go!”. “But I’m not good at letting go” I reply.
This really gets to me. I mean, in order to get what I want, I have to let it go even before it has arrived? Sounds a bit tricky to me. It’s like if I can trick myself into believing that I don’t need this or that. I’ll get it? I, however, am of a rather stubborn nature, and find myself wondering if it is actually possible to let go, or if it actually is something which just happens, or not.
So what does “letting go” mean? To me? Something says it’s an unfocussing of attention, a dropping of mental fixations with outcomes, with results, with ideas. I have so many ideas of how this should look like, how that should feel. So many in fact that nothing and nobody can fit into them, including myself. Even ideas about letting go itself.
How I am now perceiving turning 40, after 10 days of partying ultimately grounded by an intense couple of days when my car blew up like a balloon filled with illusions, is more an experience of dissatisfaction with how things are, in relation to how things are “supposed” to be (a build-up before the let go perhaps). About falling into being with who I am, what’s happening inside me, whatever beauty or catastrophe may be unfolding within me, and what type of fruitcake existence is serving me up now.
Recently at a doof (all night techno party in the bush), where a group of us did an all-nighter (and I thoroughly recommend the experience), I understood something else around letting go. And that is it is about forgetting yourself. Forgetting who you’re meant to be here and now. Forgetting all your ideas about who, even why you are, who you are supposed to be, who you are not. And simply being with who you are, with what is happening now. Letting go into music, into bliss, into where the energy moves you. Forgetting your ego and its agendas.
I experienced such a relief, such a deepening of understanding when I forgot myself, and simply relaxed into let go. Dancing for 6 or 7 hours, most of them flying, letting go into and of the body, feeling the boundaries dissolve into the space, the tribe, the relentless driving of the doof music, the communion with friends, the celebration of the dawn, the new day, the new beginning.
I find such parties, where the energy is really high, to be pivotal experiences, where insights enter flooding the senses, taking over, and once felt, integrated, are forgotten about until later when you realize that things look and feel different, and that you have been changed. And of course doofs also require a letting go of any judgements that may be there, of the music, the ‘vibe’, the impersonality, where it’s not about you or me anymore, more about “it”. Letting go of the “other” frees up heaps of energy to be yourself also.
Another letting go is to do with the significance of our times. We’ve all heard it so often that we live in “significant times” that we’re sick of it, but it’s true. We are making an attempt, collectively, to get to the bottom of it, whatever it turns out to be. For the first time in history, that’s a million years of human existence, a large number of humans are trying to live consciously, freely. It has never been attempted before on such a scale. We plumb depths of beingness, of emotions and dreams and aspirations nothing in our genes has prepared us for.
We continually put ourselves in situations our ancestors, even parents or elder siblings, even most of the others currently inhabiting this earth, would never consider, and we get upset when we stumble, when we freak out about not being up to it, not being good enough. It is as if we are giving the collective psyche we all carry around inside a deep clean, a Zen treatment, and a lot of the cobwebs don’t want to go.
So for sure we will make mistakes, freak out, whoever we are, but somehow when it is seen from the historical perspective, that what we are allowing ourselves to experience is really expanding the reach of the collective planetary consciousness (as well as our own), which by and large wants to stay comfortably within the status quo, a relaxation occurs.
What I am seeing is that I, you, need to take cognizance of the fact that we are breaking new ground, and that it may not happen all at once, and therefore we need patience, to drop beating ourselves up when we get it wrong.
So perhaps letting go is also about having patience. I had very heavy lessons abut patience, yet now I am so impatient I drive every one around me nuts. Why isn’t it happening now? Isn’t now the only time? If it’s not happening now, when can it happen? Is there another now? Impatience feels like doing rather than allowing, getting rather than receiving, and I’m not very good at it. I like to think I’m pretty big on control. Or at least I think I have some say in what in my life, or even how I perceive it to be. I keep myself in an idea of what works in my life. Another set of ideas to let go of it seems. It seems that wherever I look I find a whole new array of ideas about life, more to let go
Most people of course think I’m nuts. Well actually I am. BUT... Well there aren’t any butts about it. I wish there were. Yes folks, I am unashamedly nuts. People who know me have been known to crawl under coffee shop tables when they see the Great Nuttiness descending. It is apparent, even to me, that I have such a wonderful time when I am able to celebrate being nutty, when I am able to rejoice in not being “normal”.
And the really strange thing is that I also notice that there are other equally nutty people around me. And they too appear to have a wonderful time relaxing into Their Divine Nuttiness. Perhaps The Divine Nuttiness has an important part to play in letting go.
It seems that the Great Nuttiness can only descend upon those who have completely forgotten themselves, who they are. So, remember, forget yourself!
Published in the Here & Now magazine, October 1999
By Mark O'Brien