We all know exactly what it is like to be certain we have let go of something sorrowful or worrisome, only to find ourselves in a similar sad situation moments later.
Dropping this person and picking up that person doesn't end the loneliness that drives us into dead-end relationships. This isn't letting go. We have only managed to put the emptiness on hold.
Changing jobs to get away from someone or something that sets us off doesn't cancel our conflict. This just delays the inevitable angry feelings that always surface whenever we feel threatened. Our anger cannot keep us safe from an insensitive world -- this anger is the insensitivity itself.
Now, here’s the greatest secret on earth: the truth is that genuine letting go is very simple and, above all, natural; as natural for you and me as it is for a tree to shed the heavy, sun-ripened fruit that clings to its branches. Why? Because both man and tree, in fact all living things, are created to drop what is no longer needed.
For the tree, the falling fruit carries its matured seed to the ground. No unnatural force is necessary. In a similar fashion -- that is to say, under higher but equally exacting laws -- these same friendly forces are waiting to do for you what you haven't been able to do for yourself. You need only learn to cooperate with these powerful and timeless principles to be able to let go of any emotional bitterness, relentless regret, anxious worry or troubling thought. The rest will be done for you.
This is what the secret of letting go is all about. First must come the understanding that we are still carrying around the accumulated defeats of a lifetime and that these weary weights have only served to make us someone sorry, not someone special.
This initial shock may shake us, but it is really a major breakthrough. It heralds the first in a series of miraculous self-separations in which we begin to see that we have been living from an unseen part of ourselves: A self that thinks clinging to wreckage is the same as being rescued!
Now we understand why all of our past efforts to let go have only left us holding a new problem.