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Letting Go

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Letting Go?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Letting Go

Continual Loss of Everything We Love

Letting go of attachments and accepting poverty is a heart-wrenching process. We feel deep tears as we experience the continual loss of everything we love. We feel oceans and oceans of hot black tears. The tears of letting go and surrender deepen into an ocean of grief, and the ocean becomes darker and blacker, so black that at some point you don't even have tears. What we are letting go of, what we are losing, are things we have cherished all our lives. You have to let go of your cherished beliefs, your loves and hates, your loved ones and your enemies, your ideas and philosophies, your comforts and consolations, even your mind and your heart. Most of us will protest “How can I let go of my heart? What is life without my heart?” It is not a matter of not experiencing your heart or anything else; it is more a letting go of needing to possess things. The resistance and reluctance reflect the fear of the poverty. You think that if you let go of something, “That's it. It's going to be gone forever.” But you have to take that risk. You don't know whether it will be gone forever or if it will come back again. That's the test of the poverty. You might feel that your self is going to go, your heart is going to go, your intelligence is going to go. And you have loved and needed all these aspects of yourself.

Letting Go is a Nondoing

When you stop contracting, and stop pushing, what remains is what was there in reality. For example, if you are pushing against anger, you might be resisting it because you think that it’s bad, or that you are bad if you feel it. If you realize your resistance to it you will feel the anger. When we see that this is what people call letting go, we understand that all it means is that we stopped doing something, not that we are now doing something called letting go. The letting go is a non-doing. The contraction is the activity of the personality and that is all it knows how to do: resist and defend. If you assume you are doing something called letting go, look carefully into the moment that it happens. You will see that it is actually a movement from doing into nondoing, or more accurately, a cessation of activity.

Letting Go of Attachment is Difficult Until You Truly Know Nondifferentiated Reality

Letting go of attachment is difficult until you truly know nondifferentiated reality and perceive the true status of asserted differentiations as conceptual structures. If you believe duality is absolute, attachment will always be there. If your world is carved into existence and nonexistence, life and death, individual and God, self and other, good and bad, then you cannot be nonattached. Attachment is one of the final challenges on any path of realization. Even after you realize cosmic consciousness and the Absolute, even after you realize that existence and nonexistence are concepts in your mind, attachment remains for some time. Attachment is habitual, and those habits will have to be metabolized as you become aware of them. That takes time. But once you truly know nondifferentiated reality, you have the insight that will dispose of attachment. The rest is a matter of time.

Letting Go of Consciousness

What will be left if consciousness goes? For consciousness to go, beingness and existence also must dissolve. There needs to be absolute nonexistence, absolute darkness, darkness so dark that you don’t know it is dark. The moment you know it is dark, consciousness has already arisen, the big bang has started, the word has been uttered. To realize the truest, absolute, utmost nature of who we are, and of all of reality, we have to let go of consciousness.

Letting Go of the Past Will Feel Like a Great Loss

As long as your mind is active, full of thoughts, memories, ideas, preconceptions, you are not alone. You acquired these thoughts and memories from other people. The only thing you did not get from other people is an understanding of how things actually are now. Being alone means being without ideas and preconceptions, being present now, without relationship to the past or connection to anything or anybody else. Just you. To be completely you means being alone. When this is experienced, it will bring very deep grief and sadness. You have to learn to say good-bye to everything you have loved—not just your Mommy and Daddy, your boyfriend and your cat, but to your feelings, your mind, your ideas. You are in love with all of these. Letting go of them will feel like a great loss, even a death. It is not you who dies. What dies is everyone else. In the experience of ego death, you don’t feel you are dying; you feel everybody else is dead. You feel you’re all alone, totally alone. You have lost a boundary which was constructed from past experiences. But this boundary never really existed! It was just a belief. When you experience reality as it is, there is no sense of boundaries or of being separate, of inside or outside. These are concepts you learned at a very early age in order to protect yourself. As a six-month old baby, when you felt some negativity, or discomfort, you pushed the bad feelings outside so that you wouldn’t feel overwhelmed. That was the original need for the separateness. When there is no mind, you are not thinking, not conceptualizing, not remembering. When you are in the now, there is no feeling of a you separate from something else. There is no sense in the first place that there is a me. There is One.

Letting Go of What We Do Not Own

The perspective of poverty requires a continual letting go, a continual giving away, a continual disowning of all possessions, of all dimensions of experience. We have less and less. The less we have, the poorer we feel, and the more there is purity. Saying that we “let go” or “surrender” is not quite precise. It is more accurate to say that we discover that all of our states and feelings and inner experiences don’t belong to us. We cannot sell them, we cannot trade them, we cannot accumulate them, we cannot store them, we cannot have them at will. They are not ours; they are gifts. These phenomena that pass through our souls are similar to the weather. Is the weather ours? Can anyone own the snow, the rain? What comes, comes, what goes, goes. The evolution of the urge toward possession is connected to our physical survival. Ultimately, however, it has come to serve the survival of the ego, the false self. When we experience essence, essence doesn't feel it possesses anything. Essence never says, “I have strength. I have realization.” It is you who says that. Essence is just there; spirit simply is. When you say you have something, essence feels compassion towards you. “Poor guy, he wants to be rich.” Having to have is attachment. Attachment can be to anything, material possessions, emotional, mental, essential, divine, enlightened possessions.

Nonattachment to Dual Unity

We see here the connection to true, existential, objective aloneness. Aloneness has to be accepted completely for it to become poverty. But letting go of dual unity does not imply that dual unity will never happen, or that it is not possible for it to manifest, or that it is not real. Letting go of dual unity means there is no attachment to it. You don't feel you have it. It is something that might occur sometimes. If you are an individual soul, then the loving condition of the dual unity may occur sometimes.

The Letting Go of the Personality and the Washing of Essence are the Same Process

Essence is acceptance, not as approval but as a healing agent. It is the spontaneous inner charge and discharge; the cleansing without rejection. When the personality stops because it sees that its activity is painful, it stops through understanding, and not through rejection. In fact, it is not that the personality stops and acceptance comes; they happen at the same time. The letting go of the personality and the washing of essence are the same process. Your personality and essence have the same understanding at that moment so they operate together; personality is not rejected but understood with compassion and love. Acceptance is actually an aspect of essence; it is not an activity. Our work is to see the truth. It is to be in harmony with the truth, to be steadfast in the truth. Ultimately you will regain your trust and confidence in the truth. That confidence is regained just by seeing the truth; that is a miracle by itself. It becomes as implicit as it was when you were a trusting infant.

The Personality Can't Let Go; It Just Stops Pushing

If the personality stops pushing, it ceases to exist, because the very existence of the personality is a contraction, a pushing. So, when you follow this process, the part of the personality which is holding a particular tension will disappear when you see no more reason to push. When you realize that the pushing is useless, you stop doing it. This is still not exactly what is called surrender; it is what is sometimes called letting go. We sometimes think of it as the personality letting go, but even this is not accurate. The personality can't let go. It just stops pushing. And when it stops pushing, it disappears. There is no person which is letting go of something. There is no entity letting go of another object.

The Personality Will Let Go Because of Understanding

An important point to understand here is that the personality does not let go easily and that this characteristic of it can be seen from a positive perspective. The personality, as we have seen consistently, contains the memory of all that was lost. To ask it to let go means, according to the unconscious, letting go of its attempt to regain all that was lost. Unconsciously, it knows what has to be there, and it is not going to clear the space completely before it is sure that everything is there. On the surface, it appears that personality wants to displace essence. This is partially true, but on the deeper levels, it was formed and developed ultimately for the protection and the survival of the organism and hence for the protection and the survival of the whole essential process. And it performs this function faithfully, even though rigidly. Therefore, it is extremely difficult for the personality, and especially for the ego identity (self-concept), to loosen its grip and let go when it believes that only lack and emptiness will result. It knows, although vaguely and unconsciously, that richness and fulfillment are possible, and it continues to hold out for them. However, if the essential aspects are uncovered and the various functions of essence realized, it is much easier for the personality to let go. The personality then will not be letting go out of desperation and hopelessness. It will let go because of understanding. It will melt away because it will see that its life is suffering and that the fulfillment of the life of essence is impeded by its own very existence. The personality will realize that it itself is the barrier to the life of fullness and abundance. It will see the necessity of its own death. It will long for it. And then it will not only disintegrate into emptiness, it will melt and disappear into the sweet honey of the divine essence.

When Ego Ceases Its Defensive Posture Completely then Being Acts

This interdependence between ego and Being can also be seen in the process of inner metabolism. Ego on its own cannot complete the metabolism of experience and hence cannot bring about complete human development; Being is needed for this process to take place. On the other hand, Being cannot accomplish on its own the whole process of metabolism; it cannot dislodge ego when ego is defensive. From the perspective of the mind, Being can be resisted easily with a slight movement of ego; thus ego must first cooperate by relinquishing its defensive posture. It is up to ego to cease resisting. When it ceases its defensive posture completely, then Being acts. This is an important understanding for methods of inner realization. The work on purifying or understanding ego will not lead, by itself, to transformation. Being by itself cannot do it either. The work must be done from both directions—the letting go of ego defenses and the development of Essence.

When the Student Begins to Feel That She has to Let Go of Everything Because She Does Not Possess Anything

This is the beginning of tasting the absolute depth of her Being, although the encounter is still limited. She still needs to understand and let go of the subtle vestiges of representations. This transpires in many ways. One of the most significant ways is to follow the narcissistic emptiness related to the approaching depth of Being. The student feels empty and impoverished. If she manages not to reject, judge, or react to this emptiness, she begins to realize how impoverished she actually is. She feels devoid of significance or value, of Essence or substance; she feels that she has only attachments. She begins to feel that she has to let go of everything because she does not possess anything. She has to let go of her attachment to relationships, pleasure, comfort, security, knowledge, Essence, realization, enlightenment, ego, self, suffering, and so on. Holding on to any of these attachments simply means resisting awareness of the poverty of the denuded shell of the self. She realizes she needs to let go of having—or let go of the belief that she has—a position, a place, recognition, fruit of work, accomplishment, contribution, knowledge, even state or development. She needs to let go of everything if she is not going to spend the rest of her life fighting the emptiness of her shell. This activates deep grief, very deep sadness and tears. The emptiness becomes a vast black ocean of tears.

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