“There’s an important difference between giving up and letting go.”
– Jessica Hatchigan
The concept of letting go can be misunderstood, misinterpreted. Jessica Hatchigan’s quote is critical for anyone seeking for a way through difficult times (or just through life, I think!). Seeking takes work. Seeking can leave us feeling lost, in the dark (we’re seeking, after all, and that means we don’t necessarily find what we’re looking for right away, and we make wrong turns along the way). And feeling lost can make us want to hold on tight and maybe even give up. But the secret, the way through the fear, agony, sadness, despair, or whatever else it might be, is letting go.
For myself, letting go has been a key to unlock an entire world–of insight and perception–that I could never have anticipated beforehand. Be assured: Throughout my seeking I have wanted to give up many, many times. (Being familiar with that state of mind was an inspiration for my book, The Little Black Book of Suicide Notes.) But giving up and letting go are not the same. Giving up means things end. With letting go, things begin.
This is love:
to fly toward a secret sky,
to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment.
First to let go of life.
Finally, to take a step without feet.”
I believe this passage from Rumi describes the essential nature of love. This is what we find when we let go. This is where a new life begins. I don’t believe he’s describing romantic love, but spiritual love, a Love that reveals the truth that lies behind the veil of “normal” perception and lifts us up into a way of living.
How do we find that love? How do we live, experience, and give voice to that purest of all love? He says to let go of life, but I do not believe he means for us to leave this earthly form nor to give up on life! Instead, we are to let go of all the holding on, all our fear of death. We are to let go into the unformed and unnamed, into that which we cannot see, touch, hear, or taste with this body.
When we let go in that way, we open ourselves to a dimension of life that allows us to take steps into the unknown. It allows us a kind of fearlessness. We discover that we are more than we ever knew. We are taking a step without feet — we are stepping from within a part of us that is beyond this body so that we may discover a whole new way of being and acting IN this life.