The dynamics involved in the phase of “letting go” are very different from the dynamics involved in the phase of “conscious living” (or return of focus). The phase of letting-go, or the phase of release, is only required to reach a place of being free of the hold of the past momentum, of emotional and mental imbalances, created by unconscious/deluded identification or suppression. Once you’ve let go of all the imbalanced momentum (or at-least a good part of it) you have the foundation to start living consciously aligned with reality, free of delusions, with an objective view point. The way I define “being objective” is simply the conscious state of seeing reality as it is, in its light and dark aspects, and making deliberate choices, towards expressions and experiences, from this place of reality-based outlook. The reality of life is that it’s a mix of light and dark (yin/yang), you can’t escape this truth because it’s the very nature of life-energy, yet, a lot of people seem to have a hard time being objective about this truth and hence they constantly keep trying to hold on to delusions (hoping for some purely light-natured experience of life). The phase of letting-go is about releasing the momentum created by past unconsciousness and it prepares the ground to start living “objectively”, which involves making choices deliberately while being fully aware of the light and dark nature aspects of your choice.
One of the most frequent questions that comes in, when you are in the mid-phase of releasing past momentum, is along the lines of – “I can’t seem to hold on to my past desires, passions, motivations, I feel no drive to do anything, everything seems meaningless, I am not able to find what inspires me, I feel stuck, I am not able to feel the zest for life, how do I get out of this state?”. Basically, this is quite a normal state when one has “let go” of the momentum of delusion but is yet to embrace, fully, the deal of conscious living – of making deliberate choices while fully understanding/accepting the light and dark nature consequences of it, of living objectively by aligning with this reality. If I have to translate the essence of the above question, it would go something like this – “I can’t seem to hold on to deluded motivations anymore, nothing gives me deluded joy anymore, I can’t feel the excitement that was instigated by my delusions, I am not driven by the unconscious momentum of my mind/heart anymore where I did not have to make conscious choices (because I was just pulled around by the unconscious momentum), I am yet to learn to start making deliberate/objective choices and hence I feel stuck”.
Though a lot of “spirituality” talks about the phase of letting go, very few teachers seem to talk about the next level once the release of past momentum is done with. The reason why most people feel confused once they are mostly done with the phase of letting-go is because the attitude required for the return of focus (conscious living) is totally different from the attitude that was needed during the phase of letting-go. In fact, people seem to carry forth some misunderstandings based on their “spiritual sojourn” which causes them to not align with objective living – it’s so common for the spiritual mindset to abhor objective mindset, they think that getting back to objective living is like “regressing” back to the egoic/materialistic state or the state of ordinary living (or low level living), and they keep waiting for something extra-ordinary, and high level, to take place. I would simply call this the “spiritual hang-up”, which is just a form of deluded thinking that needs to be gotten rid off before one can start living objectively. The pointer of “get real” is most apt for the attitude you need to incorporate once you are done with the phase of release.
The mindset of making deliberate choices
A baby is very dependent on the parents for everything, it’s hardly in a position to make any deliberate choice because it has no conscious control over its body/mind and it has no real understanding of the reality that it’s born into – the baby is clueless and dependent. Even when the baby, becomes a kid, who has learnt to control his/her body, the kid is still not in a position to make conscious choices because he/she has very little understanding of reality and very little ability to engage with reality at a practical level (like how to make money, how to travel, how to cook etc) – the kid is basically still “clueless” and hence is dependent on the elders to give him/her the guidance/advice/commands on how to live. Eventually the kid has to grow up and embrace the attitude of a “true adult” to stand on his/her own shoes, make deliberate choices and live in an objective/mature/responsible manner – the reason I use the term “true adult” is because there are a lot of adults who are just kids in grown up bodies, still clueless and dependent, on outside conditioning, for being told how to live, not willing to take responsibility for their choices, or simply afraid of making choices.
Though the phase of letting-go/release is challenging (with all the emotional and mental momentum that comes up to be released) the upside is that you don’t have to work on making deliberate choices, you just have to let go – you are mostly required to be passive except in the commitment to really allow what arises, thus you are simply in a state of openness, to everything that arises, so that the past momentum, of imbalanced accumulation, gets released. This is a state of total surrender, of just an open allowing. The dark nature of the phase of release is the unpleasantness of all the suppressed emotions, and imbalanced energy, coming up to be released, whereas the light nature of the phase of release is the fact that you can be in a state of surrender, letting go of the need to control.
The attitude that serves the phase of release is one of just letting it all be, of just being surrendered, relaxed or effortless – it’s a lot like being “passive”, you are just like an open space letting it all arise. You allow the fear of being passive, you allow the fear of letting go of control, you allow fear of uncertainty, you allow yourself (your being) to detach from the unconscious pull of your mind/heart, you allow yourself to be free of the pull of conditioning, you allow all the low feelings that come up, you allow all the high feelings that come up – this is how the phase of release works. But, this phase is not a permanent one, it’s temporary and it’s bound to end sooner or later, it just prepares the foundation for you to move into conscious living. The paradox is that once you’ve found the foundation of openness by surrendering your sense of control, you are required to re-exercise control but this time from a place of awareness, wisdom and conscious choice.
The phase of letting-go can feel “spiritual”, other worldly, temporal, surreal, imbued with beautiful realizations, imbued with a sense of just “floating”, and being free of the requirement to be “deliberate” or objective. When you move through this phase you are bound to get habituated to the attitude of just letting go, of not being objective or deliberate, of being “other wordly”, of being surrendered, of simply “riding it out” – creating a passive mindset. So, even after this phase of release, mostly, gets done with, and it’s time to get back to objective living again, there is a tendency to hold on to the attitude of passivity and not align with attitude of getting back to objectivity. You can either do it the easy way or the hard way, either ways you will be pushed back into living objectively. The phase of release is only a foundation to allow you to develop the inner space to live objectively, it’s not a refuge to stay hidden in. If you resist being objective, you just feel the pressure, more and more, until you start making conscious decisions, making deliberate choices, and getting back into taking action aligned with these choices.
Once the phase of release gets done with (to a good extent) then the call is towards objective living, and if you continue to exercise the attitude of surrender, instead of getting “deliberate”, you will find yourself stagnating along with feeling the pressure from your life-force towards getting reality oriented again.
The misunderstanding of “being effortless”
Action involves effort. Action involves building the momentum towards creating certain realities, that you choose, and this involves investing energy, and this involves putting in the “work”. However, there is a difference between struggle-based action and aligned action. In some older posts I used to refer to aligned-action as being “effortless action”, or “joyful action”, and, in many ways, I saw that this pointer created a misunderstanding hence I stopped using it; a better pointer is to call it “wisdom-based action”, doing what’s right and what’s required, from a reality-based perspective of your situation, from a place of inner alignment rather than from a place of deluded struggle. Struggle-based action comes from a place of fear-based motivation, resentment, insecurity and from following some blind conditioning without applying conscious thought, thus rooted in low-awareness. Aligned-action comes from the place of inner freedom and awareness of reality – you are free within (not pulled around by misguided motivations like fear-based ones) but you are also aware of the reality of your situation. You are objectively aware of the available choices in your current situation, and you make a calculated choice by understanding its light and dark nature consequences, and then, from this place of conscious choice, you move into action – this action involves effort, it involves work, it involves investing energy, but it’s free of inner conflict, it’s free of resentment, anger, bitterness or deluded excitement.
Conscious living is about making objective choices based on reality. The truth about reality is that everything has a light and dark nature inherent to it, the pros and cons, the advantage and disadvantage, the wanted and the contrast – there is no “perfect” reality in terms of it being purely light-natured. If you have a hard time understanding/realizing this simple truth about life, you will just have to wait till the pressure of “getting real” keeps mounting. What I notice in a lot of people who talk about “being stuck” is that they are unwilling to get real, they are not willing to understand that they have to make choices based on their situation and that it’s usually a “step-by-step” movement towards creating a certain reality of choice, they are not willing to accept that they have to invest energy into action based on their choice. It’s true that in a state of alignment your life-force ensures that “synchronicities” happen towards allowing a smooth experience for you, however you do need to work on your part of the deal of making choices and taking the “objective” action as required. It’s about becoming a true adult willing to stand on his/her own choices based on an objective view of life, no longer a deluded kid rooted in fantasies, no longer the idealist who is disconnected from ground reality, no longer the dreamer who is clueless about aspects of execution and work.
The pointer of “joyful action” can be very misleading because in reality you do need to take certain actions which may not be joyful but required in the name of being objective, wise and responsible, and achieving a certain end that’s important to you. The only deal is that you are now making a conscious choice towards these actions and working at it without any inner conflict, whereas in the past you may be working from the energy of resentment, anger and blame. You understand that life can’t be all light nature and that you have to deal with some dark nature, and having understood this about life you let go of feelings of resentment towards the dark nature aspects, developing an objective view of reality. For example, cleaning up your room may not feel all “joyful” but you realize that in order to experience the light-nature of being in a tidy room you will have to go through the dark-nature of putting in the work of tidying it up – in this phase of the return of focus it’s all about making deliberate choices, you don’t have to wait around for some “divine inspiration” to come in to clean your room.
A few reasons why people avoid making choices and taking the objective action are as below
Feeling a lack of energy – The phase of release causes you to be free of deluded momentum, and hence the “driving force” that was impelling you in the past starts ebbing away. When you are going through the cycles of release, it’s very likely that you truly feel a lack of energy because the body is adapting to the shifts happening within you, and it needs the “recuperation” time. However, once you are mostly done with the release of past momentum, the lack of the past driving-force can get misinterpreted as a lack of energy. The fact is that you are no longer going to be driven by a delusional mindset and you now have to simply work on living objectively based on making choices with respect to your reality. Life can feel “ordinary” when you realize that you have to get back to living in terms of doing work and following some mundane routines. Physical life, or life in general, has its limitations, it can be mundane for a good part – it takes time for realities to get created, it takes organized action, takes a certain dedication and it takes choosing one reality over the other (for example, if you have to get married you have to let go of the light nature available in the reality of being a bachelor – you can’t have it all, you just have to get real about it). The lack of energy could simply be coming from a lack of commitment towards a choice, or waiting for the old feeling of deluded driving-force.
Waiting for the big inspiration – When I talk about moving from inspiration I am not alluding to some supernatural voice letting you know exactly what to do. Even if you did hear such a voice within you, you would still have to make a choice on whether you want to follow it – you can’t simply follow anything blindly anymore, not even what you call “instinct”; everything has to be a conscious choice based on understanding that every choice has its light and dark nature. Use your instincts, use the advice you get from outside, use the knowledge you gain, use your past learning, and make a conscious choice based on these inputs. How can I know if I’ve made the “right” choice? You can’t, you can never know if the choice you made is the “right” choice, simply because the very definition of what’s right is very relative. Stop waiting for the feeling of “total certainty” rather just make a choice from what feels like an objective, and reality-based, view on what you need to do currently. When I say I write from a place of inspiration I don’t mean that I am waiting to be “moved” by some voice within, rather I just mean that I write when I have something to share/express, that I think can add value, and I have the time to write.
Feeling meaningless – This can become a classic excuse for not making a choice. The truth is that sometimes we don’t really need a meaning other than the fact that there is a “necessity” to do something. Stop looking for some “big meaning” or big purpose, all of that is for the deluded state of living. Just start doing what’s “required” of you to do; understand that work is not always going to be joyful, it will have mundane aspects. It’s important to let go of the mindset of seeking meanings that were valid in the deluded state; the more aware you become the more you sense that there is an inherent meaninglessness to everything because everything is temporary and there is no end-point to reach either. The motivation to “do” comes purely from a place of “this is what’s needed at the moment” rather than waiting for some divinely extraordinary meaning to come along. The fact is that nothing has a meaning per se except the relative meaning that you want to give it, there is no ideology or goal or work that’s more elevated except that you want to think of it that way. Stop finding a greater meaning and you will no longer hinge on the excuse of “feeling meaningless”, just do what’s needed/required to be done as a part of objective living.
Avoiding the mundane aspects – When I write there’s an interest in sharing/expressing something, and I also enjoy the outlet of writing per se. However, there is also the mundane aspect of re-reading the post a few times, correcting errors, re-structuring/editing etc, which takes a good amount of time and which is something I don’t enjoy but I understand is “needed” in order to provide a readable content. In fact even the process of writing can be highly mundane and is usually just a necessary “work” to be able to convey an idea or insight. The motivation of finding joy is hardly what impels my decision to write, rather it comes from a place of a certain responsibility to convey what I feel can be useful, or what I feel can add value, not because it feels like a “higher calling or meaning or purpose” but because it feels important to me to do this at the moment – it’s a very personal choice, and it’s not a selfless endeavor, I do it because it’s important to me, for now. You can’t avoid the mundane aspects of life, and, many a times, to do what’s important also requires you to do things that are not really “joyful” but are just “required” as a part of accomplishing a certain end that’s needed. Inner wholeness is a state of balance, not just a state of joy – it’s a balance of light and dark, and it gives you the ability to not be motivated by light-nature alone.
Indecision – When there are too many choices, one can feel undecided about what’s the right choice to make. You should, of course, take your time with making choices, but just understand that all choices eventually have a light and dark nature aspect, there are no “perfect” choices with no contrast. It’s true that the grass is not greener on the other side (because everything comes with its pros and cons, light and dark) but it’s also true that you have to do what’s important to you in the moment, you have to explore because desiring growth/change is an aspect of your nature as life-energy; stagnation will never feel good to your being. If you are really undecided, you can simply take up one of the choices and take action towards it, just to get the energy moving – this movement can serve towards giving you a better understanding of the choice you would like to make.
Sometimes “exploring” a reality, in real-time, is the best way to know if it’s the choice you want to continue with. Your life-stream can make things smooth for you but it can’t just keep “spoon feeding” you, don’t expect to be given clear directions all the time, sometimes you just have to explore to know for yourself. If you say “I don’t trust life”, then I would I say, “It doesn’t matter, you don’t have to” – I don’t sit trusting life to make things work smoothly for me, I am perfectly fine dealing with my life the way it comes up, handling whatever that arises. It’s just my observation, from this place of openness, that life seems to enable positive synchronicities, and brings in the required resources and external guidance, as and when needed, more so whenever I am free of inner conflict about what I do.
Inner conflict – Sometimes the inner conflict is simply about not willing to accept that all realities have a light and dark nature, and expecting a purely light-natured condition to be presented to you. Just look around and you will notice that anything and everything about life has an associated dark nature along with light nature, this is reality, just accept it and start living from it – whether you like it or not, you can’t bail out of life; as a being the only option for you is to keep living, even after this current physical body dies you continue forth towards new incarnation or non-physical endeavors; life is eternal, and there is no ending for you, that’s your gift and your curse as life-energy. There is no place to hide, no place to be “static”, no place to just stop, and there is no place/reality to just feel purely light-natured – you either accept life as it is, in its nature of light and dark, or stay in conflict; your conflict is not going to change the nature of life, it’s only going to create unnecessary suffering due to resistance.
Compromising VS Being Objective
Every reality of life has a light and a dark nature, so, when you desire a reality for the light nature aspects that it affords, you also need to contend with the dark nature aspects that will come as a consequence – you can’t have the light nature without the dark nature. In that sense life as a whole seems like a compromise where you contend with a certain dark nature in order to experience the light nature that you desire from a certain reality – from this perspective it’s true that every reality requires a compromise. However, the way I would define “compromise” is a state where you feel resentful and resistive towards what you are doing and continue doing it from this vibe – it’s the vibe that you orient with that defines if you are living a compromise or if you are simply doing what’s important to you and being objective. For example, I may not enjoy re-reading and editing the posts that I write, but I do it because I want to ensure there are less errors, I go through the dark nature aspect of editing in order to fulfill the light nature aspect of delivering something that’s important to me, and I am not resentful of doing the editing, I just do it as an objective requirement.
When you try to settle for something for the wrong reasons (like being fear-based or lack-based) that’s when you are truly compromising. When you are simply aligning with the requirements (light/dark nature requirements) of a certain reality that’s important to you, and your attitude is one of being objective about it, instead of being resentful and conflicted, in that case you are not compromising you are just being reality-based. Sometimes you have to make a choice towards letting go of one reality to explore another reality, you can’t travel with one leg in each boat. Life does not require you to compromise, where you are living from a fear-based attitude, but it does require you to be objective towards making choices by understanding the dark and light nature of a reality.
Consider this example – you enjoy playing the guitar but you don’t enjoy all the aspects of the job that you are in (though you have a capacity to do the job), you just need the job to make money to support yourself. So, you can do the job as an objective choice and enjoy playing guitar as a hobby, or, you can make an objective choice of quitting your job and take up playing guitar full time and look to make money from it while understanding that making money playing the guitar is very different from simply playing it for enjoyment, the commercial aspects can involve the dark nature of packaging your music, honing your skills to match professional standards, marketing and pooling in the resources that can assist in the music production – just because you enjoy something doesn’t mean you would enjoy making money using it. The prudent choice can be to keep the job for the money and play guitar as a hobby, and if you make this choice from a place of being objective (and understanding life) you would not have an inner conflict/resentment towards it, you will accept the dark nature aspect along with the light nature that it affords. However, when you don’t make this inner choice, and simply feel resentful towards your job, you end up creating a vibe of resistance which leads to psychological suffering.
When there is this talk about “follow your joy” it’s important to add “in alignment with objective wisdom”. I am sure you’ve seen enough real life examples of how passion without objective-wisdom leads to unpleasant consequences. It’s important to take a balanced approach towards joy, there is nothing more foolhardy than to allow your passion to blind you to the practical aspects. You can be objective, while being sensitive, while being balanced towards your joy – it’s all about understanding balance. The phase of letting-go, finding inner freedom, releasing past momentum, is all in service to developing the openness towards objective living, free of resentment, free of resistance towards the nature of life.