Letting Go is a mantra of our times. "Just let go," we're advised. "If only I could let go," others complain.
The call to let go lies at the core of humanity's many spiritual traditions. Non-attachment to outcomes, surrendering desires, accepting the present, opening to the guidance of a higher power, relinquishing the ego, forgiveness—they all entail a letting go.
Why is letting go so important? Holding on, these teachings repeatedly affirm, limits perception, makes us tense, and obscures our true nature. Moreover, it lies at the root of most our suffering. Letting go, on the other hand, brings relief, ease, joy, and love.
But if letting go is so valuable, why don't we just do it? The answer, as anyone who has tried can testify, is that it is not as easy as it sounds.
To appreciate why letting go can seem so difficult, we need to understand why we hold on, and what we hold on to. To answer these questions we must delve into a more fundamental question: What is it we really want?