Someone once told me that life is the continual practice of learning to let go. As time passes and life experiences change and mold the perception I have, I agree more and more with that statement.
Sometimes the level of letting go varies. We learn to let go of smaller things such as a plan made that must change last moment, a pose we can no longer do, an argument or kink in connection between relations, up to more challenging things of learning to let go of things such as a job that has ended, the idea of health when finding out about a life threatening illness or even a loved one who has passed on.
All of these life experiences have an effect on us whether small or grand, but the practice of letting go stays the same. We must learn to move on and carry through life. Sometimes the tests of life can strengthen us and other times they seem to bring us down, but the degree to which one can let go can influence the time it takes one to bounce back.
When we learn to let go, we allow ourselves to stay in the present moment. Whether we are learning to let go of expectations, assumptions, failures, hurtful experiences, or even pleasurable experiences, it all comes back to learning to let go. Life is ever flowing and ever changing and when one holds to a concept, a belief, a particular way of doing, we invite stagnation to enter.
Learning to let go allows ourselves to be free from the past and from the future we are constantly trying to get to. When we hold onto something that is no longer there or something that never existed (such as a desire, or belief) we participate in Avidya (ignorance or lack of wisdom or understanding), which Patanjali states is the root cause of suffering. As the sutras teach, this life is temporary and believing things to be permanent is ignorance. Everything must change; it is the nature of all Life. Nothing stays the same and being able to flow with the rising tides is a practice as much as it is an art.
We often think of yoga as an asana practice, but what if the flexibility of our mind and heart is more important than the flexibility of our body? The practice of letting go cultivates awareness of the impermanent nature of everything, therefore allowing us to practice non-attachment.
Let us allow ourselves to open to new possibilities and to know that by holding onto things, and not letting go, our hands are not open to receive new things and experiences life has to offer. To every end there is a beginning. To every pose there is a repose. May we be flexible in our practice and in our minds to realize the times we need to let go and learn to be okay with things just as they are.