Learning to just let go
Modern life is so full of stress for most people, I’ve been there myself and worn the T-shirt. In fact at one point in life I got so stressed that I became quite ill, got fired from my job, almost lost my home and suffered very bad health and insomnia for quite some time. Conventional treatment from my doctor didn’t help me at all, in fact his efforts made my situation far worse and so I abandoned his prescriptions and sought help elsewhere.
Having been involved in spirituality for a long time I should have known better than to ask a medic who had no belief in the spiritual aspects of health to help me heal myself. So, instead I underwent a renewal of the spiritual practices that have served me well in the past but I had neglected due to being overly busy and stressed.
At the core of good physical and mental health is taking responsibility for ourselves and that includes our spiritual lives too. If we don’t look after ourselves on a physical and meta-physical level by treating not just other people but also ourselves with love and compassion then we are likely to become ill and remain so until we learn the necessary lessons.
Eating properly, yoga, accupuncture, tai-chi and meditation really helped me, as did connecting with the natural world around me, which I am very lucky to have available on my doorstep in co. Kerry. At the root of my problems lay the stress and worry that I had heaped upon myself - most of which I knew in my head wasn’t really important, but in my heart it still bothered me.
Money, property, possessions, what other people think of me, work and other ‘obligations’ all can seem important but much of this is just the noise of the ego or the illusion of samsara. However, if you’re struggling to pay bills or put food on the table all of this is horribly real. Fortunately for most of us, deep down our spiritual destiny is more important than all of the worries that we stress over and torment ourselves with.
Learning to just let go of all of this nonsense is not always easy as most of us have learned from our childhood onwards to be concerned about material aspects of life above the spiritual. Even when we know this is not the way to live it is easy to slip back into this way of being, on autopilot. Breathing – this is a key element to letting go, stopping the thoughts and allowing yourself to be and not become caught in the negative cycles of stress and worry. Breathing is something that Buddhist, Hindu and Druid mysticism holds dear, because it is central to our wellbeing.
It’s when we most need to relax and be calm that it is actually hardest, but if we can remember to breath and remember who we really are and why we are here (i.e. not to blindly wander in a materialist haze) we can let go of our worries at least for now. In moments of enlightenment we can see how trivial most of our worries are, it’s too bad most of us cannot be like this all of the time. But if we can let go and return to this state more and more often then we can truly learn to let go and be free to be the people we are destined to become.
Luke Eastwood is a druid, horticulturist, artist, poet and writer on spirituality, environmental and social issues. You can read more his work at lukeeastwood.com
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