Of all the spiritual practices I rely on, none is simpler than letting go. It’s also one of the most powerful. If we practice no other exercise, things will get better for us if we release what no longer serves.
When you practice release, you’re dealing with your own territory—and nobody knows it the way you do. You don’t need to read books or study with a master, and you don’t need advice or even a road map.
There are several areas of life where we can make space for something better—physically emotionally and mentally. But for now, let’s start with an easy one: Stuff.
Our culture encourages us to place importance on material goods. The right clothes will get you respect; the right house will impress your friends; and the right car will get your date in the sack. We trade much of our lives for a paycheck so we can get more stuff.
Is it any wonder that for some people, the solution to every problem is to go shopping for more?
One summer I traveled with a group of five adults and two children in a 23-foot trailer. We each had a tiny space for our clothes and personal articles. Whenever anybody was tempted to get something, you could hear a chorus of, “It goes on your shelf.” Right at that moment the “desire to acquire” lost its power.
Thanks to reality TV, hoarding recently has come into public awareness. It may seem shocking but, let’s face it, we invent reasons to hang on to worn-out, outdated stuff we probably will never use again. “That old holey shirt was my favorite!” “This is Aunt Mabel’s tablecloth.” “I’m going to fix that broken blender.” “I can’t sell this house—it belonged to my grandparents!”
I once visited a friend at her parents’ house shortly after her father passed away. He was a tinkerer. They showed me the swimming pool. It was literally filled with old car parts and big metal pieces of who-knows-what. He was quite the collector…a collector and tinkerer.
Now don’t get me wrong—I like nice stuff as much as anyone. The problem comes when we become attached to it for security or as a way to feel better about ourselves.
So what happens when we let go of stuff?
Here’s an example. My friend Betty gave up her job for the freedom of the road the summer we drove cross-country. However, she liked to water ski and owned a small boat. She loved the boat enough to drag it with us, even though our new home offered little in the way of water to float it in. In this case, did she own the boat or did the boat own her? It was difficult to keep up with the expenses and repairs for the vessel. She worried about how she’d make the payments. I asked how she’d feel if she didn’t have the boat anymore. Her face lit up as she realized, “I’d be free!” Shortly after that, the boat was gone—and so was her worry.
A popular metaphysical practice involves the Law of Circulation. We’re encouraged to go through our attics and closets and get rid of anything we don’t need or use anymore. The idea is that the universe abhors a vacuum and a void will always be filled, so we circulate the stuff. We give it away or throw it away as we mentally and physically make space for the new.
I said letting go is simple, but I admit it isn’t always easy. Sometimes it takes courage. Sometimes you have to suffer enough.
Is there something you can let go of now that will make space for something better?
Rev. Marla Sanderson is a skilled spiritual counselor, speaker, teacher, and workshop leader. She has studied and practiced the Science of Happiness and Science of Mind for over 40 years. Her website, The New Thought Global Network, showcases ideas from many New Thought disciplines. She is ordained in the Centers for Spiritual Living. (Religious Science). Contact her at 727-475-8991, or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.newthoughtglobal.org