Wednesday, March 31, 2010


As your meditation opens you to an experience of pure being, you may begin to recognize the value of the second stage of the 12-step dictum: “letting God.” The truth is, the power or force that’s actually controlling your life (and which you essentially are) is far bigger than your small self, and it’s eminently trustworthy — some would even say it’s sacred or divine. When you begin to loosen your vice-grip on the steering wheel of your life, you don’t plunge headlong into the chaotic abyss, as you might fear; instead, you relinquish your apparent control to the one who has always been in control —call it God or Self or pure being. In your meditation, you may actually experience this surrender as a deeper and deeper relaxation into the sacred silence or stillness that surrounds, suffuses, and sustains you.


Letting go also has a deeper dimension: The more you loosen the stranglehold of your likes and dislikes, preferences and prejudices, memories and stories, the more you open to the experience of just being, beyond any limited identities or interpretations. These identities are like the layers of an onion or clouds that hide the radiance of the sun. As your meditation deepens, you can learn to accept and then let go of these clouds, without mistaking them for the light they obscure. By disidentifying more and more with what you are not — the masks that hide your true nature — you gradually begin to identify with what you are: pure being.

Letting go

Participants in 12-step programs sometimes talk about “letting go and letting God.” The first stage involves letting go of the illusion that you have unlimited control over your life. In mindfulness meditation, you can practice letting go by dropping all struggles to control your mind — and all ideas you may have about how your meditation is supposed to look — and relaxing into the present moment as it unfolds, both inside and outside. Believe it or not, you already know how to let go — you do it every night when you drift off to sleep.