January 27


Today's quotation:

We find by losing.  We hold fast by letting go.  We become something new by ceasing to be something old.  This seems to be close to the heart of that mystery.  I know no more now than I ever did about the far side of death as the last letting-go of all, but now I know that I do not need to know, and that I do not need to be afraid of not knowing.  God knows.  That is all that matters.

Frederick Buechner

Today's Meditation:

One of the things that I most admire about the Zen perspective on life is its focus on letting go.  Letting go of control, letting go of results, letting go of "needing" to know things that truly are unknowable.  There are so many things that we don't need to know, but we live in a culture in which knowledge is "power," and information is king of all.  This idea keeps us thinking that there's some kind of problem if we don't know a certain something or if we're lacking a certain bit of information.

"We hold fast by letting go."  Letting go of our attempts to control things, our attempts to maintain control over every aspect of our life.  We've all heard the saying about if we love something, we should let it go, and then we'll know whether it "belongs" to us when we see whether it comes back to us.  So much of our discontent and our dissatisfaction comes from our unwillingness to let go of trying to control things and trying to cause just the results that we think should occur.

I know someone who tries to control things.  I don't know why he does so, but he tries to control his children's every action.  He seems to think that his kids have to act a certain way in order to be doing things "right."  He thinks his wife has to do things a certain way, and once when he came over to my house to help out with a project, he took over completely and did the project himself, because it had to be done his way.  I guess this would be okay, but he certainly isn't a happy person--his need to control things makes him miserable, because he's constantly preoccupied about the possibility that someone's doing something "wrong."  He wants to "know" that things will work out his way.

If he could learn about letting go, he would experience much less stress in his life, and he would no longer be afraid that things will work out in a way that's not "right."  There are so many things that he cannot control and that he will never know, yet he's still not willing to admit this.  Once he does admit it and relax a bit, he'll find life to be much more enjoyable, because the burden of controlling the world will have fallen from his shoulders.

Questions to consider:

What do you try to control?  Are they all things that can be controlled?

How would it be to no longer feel a need to control things?  What would it be like to lose that tension?

What kinds of things can you let go of?  What kinds of things that you want to know do you not necessarily need to know?

For further thought:

Ask not that events should happen as you will, but let your will be that events should happen as they do, and you shall have peace.


more thoughts and ideas on letting go



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