The Courage to Let Go of the Past
The Courage to Let Go of the Past
  • Posted: September 10, 2010
  • 621 words
Key Lesson

Like a child who loses interest in an old pair of shoes that are no longer comfortable to wear, troublesome parts of ourselves can't be outrun, only outgrown.


We may not yet see it as being so, but whenever unwanted situations come along -- stripping us of some beloved attachment -- it is the operation of one world acting upon another. There is our familiar world, the one we've always known -- who and what we've been, filled with our preferences and possessions -- and acting upon it is a new order of reality whose meaning is unknown at first, but whose secret purpose is to help us awaken to our own higher possibilities. But when in such moments -- moments only these colliding worlds can provide, all we see is our resentment or regret -- we lose sight of this spiritual gift that can be offered to us in no other way.

When we are hurt badly, the higher lesson hidden in this trial is to recognize the time has come to let go of who and what we have been up until the moment of loss. And "how" do we know this is true? How can we be sure there is something good in the "bad" others put us through? Because if we understand that events in themselves have no power to punish us, then who's to blame for our pain when life changes as it must? The real culprit here is our present level of Self -- literally wrecking itself -- as it clings to what can no longer remain in our life...

Yes! It does hurt to be left behind, or to be lied to. Yes, we feel lots of grief and anger -- those knee-jerk reactions that rush in and rule a heart that feels so wrongly compromised. But as long as we cling to the false idea that who we really are is meant to be defined by any "other" -- regardless how sublime -- we have no choice but to feel that we're being pulled apart when our relationships change -- as they must. There's a silver lining to this kind of suffering once we learn to see it! Strange as it is, how else could any of our secret attachments ever be realized and released... if not for the unwanted events that come along to reveal them! Each "troubling" event, seen properly, is the herald of a freedom yet to be known. With this in mind, here's the higher lesson that awaits us on the other side of any loss, if only we'll open ourselves to its healing.

In the spiritual worlds above us, we are the other. The man who came to own a successful horse ranch is -- and will forever have within him -- the small boy who couldn't imagine anything better than his little stick pony. Nothing real can be lost. Just as the seed must give way so that the sapling it holds can spring from it, with all of its greater possibilities, we must learn to let go of what was, so that what may be can grow in its place. Love never dies, but only changes its form and expression that we may see its example and willingly follow suit.

One last thought. Our anger and resentment toward someone who has hurt us do not prove that we loved, and they didn't. What our enmity really indicates is that we don't yet understand the true nature of love, or we wouldn't be ripping ourselves apart because someone tore from us something to which we had become attached. The hole in our soul that is created by any such loss must be left empty. If we let it be filled with negative states, we will never know the birth of a whole new order of love because there is no room for it to grow.

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