Let Be and Let Go?

by Christopher Lovejoy on July 28, 2013

In the face of total freedom, my core intention can only ever be to hold a sacred space for encounter, to navigate my encounters with vitality for the sake of experience, to give and receive blessings divine.

Having said this, I’ll be the first to admit that this rather heady, lofty declaration requires some serious grounding in daily life. With the body serving both as vessel and vehicle, temple and transport, this intention places radical trust in the sacred heart of the soul to inform the divine mind of the spirit, even as the spirit divine serves to inspire the sacred heart. In other words, this core intention does double duty as both reflected realization and inspired projection in a perpetual feedback loop.

Letting be is not merely about releasing the grip of a controlling desire; letting be is also about releasing superfluous action and reaction. Letting be is about coming to terms with some rather uncomfortable questions: do I feel a constant push for more? And is this because I feel plagued by a sense of urgency? And is this because I feel a nagging sense of lack? And is this because I have neglected or refused to sit with myself long enough to integrate the underlying emotional charges?

We would do well to keep these questions in mind as we venture forth into verse 48.

Tao Te Ching, Verse 48

About a year ago, I explored the theme of letting be and letting go in a post called Letting Be, Letting Go. In this post, I revisit this theme in light of reading verse 48 of the Tao Te Ching.

Learning fosters
daily accumulations.
Practice with the Tao
brings daily diminishing,
decreasing and decreasing,
until nothing is done.

When nothing is done,
nothing is left undone.

True mastery arises
by letting things go their own way –
not by interfering.

Edited slightly by yours truly to enhance the flow of text

Ref: Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao

When nothing is done, nothing is left undone: how is this even possible? Or desirable?

My Impressions of the Verse

As with all verses of the Tao Te Ching, I read this verse several times before I could let the essence of it sink into the heart of my soul.

This verse is not so much about clearing the clutter, either within you or around you, as it is expressing your doing from your being until your doing no longer seems necessary.

Learning fosters
daily accumulations.
Practice with the Tao
brings daily diminishing,
decreasing and decreasing,
until nothing is done.

It’s in the nature of learning to process ideas and insights, rules and regulations, principles and perspectives, models and heuristics, theorems and theories.

Nothing wrong with this.

Understanding and appreciating the world in which we live can be very satisfying – and fulfilling.

By contrast, it’s in the nature of aligning with the Tao to hold a peaceful inner posture of presence (at the heart of soul) to remain alert, assured, and blissfully responsive to change (in the mind of spirit).

With learning, any learning, the necessity for action diminishes to the point of true mastery.

When nothing is done,
nothing is left undone.

At the point of true mastery, nothing is ever left undone; necessity has been mastered.

True mastery arises
by letting things go their own way –
not by interfering.

Here’s a vital clue to realizing true mastery, either with a particular endeavor or with life itself: without interfering, let be and let go by knowing when to let things go their own way.

This, of course, requires knowing through learning.

Implications for Personal Fulfillment

The question, “let it be or make it so?”, invites us to choose a fundamental existential paradigm: release or control? Where the control paradigm enshrines “make it so”, the release paradigm sacralizes “let it be”.

The first is masculine in its orientation, the second is feminine. Either one is valid, and rather than painting them as black and white options, we might do well to view them on a continuum.

That is to say, “make it so” requires learning on the way to mastery, but as we approach true mastery, “let it be” seems more natural, even required, the closer we get to mastery.

If you sense your energy is primarily feminine (as a general sense or with respect to a specific area of your life), receive it openly, but be sure to have some masculine energy in reserve for backup, or, if you sense that your energy is primarily masculine, express it openly, but stay open to the contributions of feminine energy for the sake of contrast, all the more to appreciate the masculine energy.

Knowing your native energy is vital for choosing your paradigm.

Because my energy is mostly feminine, I naturally favor the release paradigm over the control paradigm, while being mindful of the benefits of a control paradigm and the hazards of a release paradigm.

With a release paradigm, I need not ever control or sedate or run away from my pain and discomfort.

Instead, I treat them as friendly messengers, as valid and required.

In a release paradigm, I can allow myself to feel what I feel, without condition, without needing to fix, change, understand, visualize, heal, or manipulate the pain or discomfort. If a feeling intensifies, I go with it; if a feeling subsides, I go with it; if a feeling shifts, I go with it.

As verse 48 states: True mastery arises by letting things go their own way – not by interfering.

On a control paradigm, you need not ever control the pain and discomfort directly; you merely need to place your focus on maintaining control of your attention with respect to your feelings, while letting them go their own way, as indicated above, without interference.

As with feelings, so with encounters and experiences in daily life.

Helping Grandma With the Remote

With either paradigm, we need not insist on certain outcomes to manifest; we need not energetically bind and restrict the underlying flow of events that brings about effortless manifestation.

If grandma is struggling to make sense of her remote controls, take the initiative and help her reach the point of true mastery. In keeping with the Tao, less truly is more on the way to mastery.

Next up: Innocent Wisdom? (Living without Judgment)

This post is one of many in an ongoing series that began here.

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