I remember the first time I went to a talk on “letting go” nearly 30 years ago. I could not comprehend what the speaker was talking about. I remember thinking I didn’t have anything to “let go.” Of course, I didn’t realize that the speaker was suggesting I let go of all those old relationship emotions, the resulting beliefs and inaccurate assumptions I had unconsciously made. He was suggesting that I let go of behaviors and attitudes of the ego—anger, hurt, fear, shame, and blame. Oh, THAT.
I since began to study “letting go” and for a long while taught the concept of letting go of ego. However, I have come to some different perspectives on ego since then, too.
In my observation, ego is a protector. Your ego will try to protect you at all costs—even harming another, being defensive or silently whispering demeaning or self-deprecating messages to you through “self-talk” in an attempt to control your behavior. The ego is great at seeing problems, but terrible at solving them. If you then simply attempt to “let it go,” the ego panics thinking that you didn’t receive its warning messages and gets louder and meaner in its efforts to protect. Not only does this not work, but we don’t actually want to get rid of the part of us that is watching out for danger. Rather, we just don’t want it in charge of our actions and words on account of what it perceives.
The ego tends to try to solve problems by using blame, anger, hurt, fear, misperceptions, accusations, made up stories, bravado, defensiveness, apathy, withdrawal, hatred and the like to “solve” the problem. Unfortunately, that all causes more of the problem. Instead, once the ego has alerted us to a potential concern, we want to make decisions on how to manage the situation in alignment with the Spirit—using wisdom, intuition, clarity, creativity, discernment, love and responsibility. I realized that we need to let go or transcend the behavioral suggestions of ego…not the ego itself.
Then recently, I had another shift in my perception of the concept of “letting go.” I had the opportunity to receive a sound healing session from an up and coming practitioner who works with angelic vibrations. Up until this, I sometimes thought of letting go as something I was losing, having to part with or had to struggle to release. Often, letting go didn’t feel easy. My ego had loud and convincing reasons for hanging on to its attitude or stance. In those moments, letting go felt like having to pry myself away from the anger, blame, or grief while it held on for dear life. But in the midst of the angelic vibration session, the grief and sadness I was feeling began to take the shape of a large menacing dragon tethered to me with a cord.
Then the practitioner leading the session suggested I cut the cord and set it free. She suggested I “let the dragon go.” With the emphasis on “let,” suddenly the whole “letting it go” concept shifted for me. Instead of something I had to struggle to do against the will of the thing I was trying to sever, I simply had to cut the tie and allow it to be free. I willfully swung a sword and set the dragon free as I watched it fly away gleefully. This was such a new awareness for me. Letting it go wasn’t something I had to do against the will of all involved, “letting it go” was something “it” wanted as badly as I did.
What I have found is that most of us are afraid that if we let go of the behaviors that are protecting us we will be lost, unprotected and thus damaged more. What I have found is that when we let those behaviors go, we discover our wholeness, our true strength, our creative problem solving abilities—and in the humbleness of that moment, we discover that a Higher Power has our back.
So now I invite you to consider how you would feel if you imagined that letting go was a matter of setting free that which haunts you. What if you set your anger free, your sadness free, your grief free? Your attitudes, beliefs and defenses… What if you allowed them to leave rather than holding onto them for dear life? What you may find is that underneath the protective behaviors, attitudes and beliefs of the ego is the true protection of Spirit. You may find strength, peace and freedom.
But don’t just believe me, try it and see.