Focus not on letting go of things – focus on taking hold of your thoughts
In spiritual life, we are often exhorted to let go of things. However, we viscerally resist because we feel as if we are losing the control we are meant to have; and that by not seeking to control things, we are being irresponsible.
To overcome such resistance, we can change our focus from what we are letting go of to what we are taking hold of: our thoughts. When we hold on to problematic situations, we unwittingly give those situations the power to hold on to our thoughts. The more those problems dominate our consciousness, the more they seem to grow bigger, and we feel diminished and disempowered. Indeed, holding on to things makes us increasingly incapable of dealing with them. Thus, by holding on to things when we should be letting go, we are being irresponsible, not responsible.
In devotional surrender, we focus on letting Krishna take control of things. Actually, he is always in control. But when we are mentally caught in problems, we imagine that we are in control and feel tormented because we can’t control. So, when we let go, we strive to take hold of our thoughts and direct them towards Krishna, meditating on the reality that he is in control and will work things out for the best. The Bhagavad-gita (18.66) conveys that surrendering is not just about letting go of things but essentially about seeking Krishna’s shelter. Such devotional redirection of our thoughts frees us from feelings of frustration and fear. When our consciousness thus becomes calm and clear, we can, by Krishna’s guidance, gradually think of the best way ahead.
Through such restoration of our composure, we realize that letting go of things is not disempowering – letting go to let God lead us is empowering, supremely empowering.
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