Letting go or letting be? by Yandara 500hr student, Kylie Price
Rudra-shakti-sam-aa-veshah tat-kshetram bhaavanaa paraa
Anyathaa tasya tattvasya kaa cha tripyati
“Emanating from the embrace
Of the Goddess and her God
Is a wheel of delicious divine energies.
The center of this wheel
Is right where you are.
Live here, and let your heart stream
With unending flow of adoration.
In this way, tend the altar of love.”
Insight Verse 151- The Radiance Sutras
Often, in the yoga world and beyond, we are invited, encouraged, to let go of things that are no longer serving us. I myself have used this phrase countless times in yoga classes, in words of advice to friends and to myself. I have always intended the phrase to be a comfort to the ears of the receiver, permission to be in the present and allow worries and past events to melt away. Recently, my teacher Christopher Perkins asked: “How about if instead of letting it go, you let it be?” This question resonated deeply with me. As yogis we are always working on trying to remain as present as we can; I wonder, can we be too present? Can our invitation and desire to be in the present moment somehow leave us feeling unable to be with present feelings that are a result of past events? When we are feeling low, unmotivated or mourning for past sensations we often remind ourselves of what we have in the present moment. But isn’t the present moment connecting with the feelings you are experiencing right now, even if the feelings are ignited by a past event?
Let me put this another way, another teacher of mine, Fran Ubertini, talks about ‘The Long Goodbye”. When we have people over for dinner we say goodnight and then spend another half an hour at the door and a further 10 minutes at the car saying goodbye before we are ready for the evening to come to an end. Upon reentering the house we feel an overwhelming sense of abundance, joy and gratitude for the evening we have just had, the food, the laughter and the company. As we wash the dishes we continue to ride the wave of this beautiful evening and the arrival of all the positive emotions that accompany it. Physically, we are no longer at dinner but the response to the experience we just had is so blissful that each sensation reverberates through each kosha until we are sailing the sea of anandamaya. We experience the same reverberations after a beautiful meditative asana practice; we chant mantras and kirtans enjoying the music but relishing the reverberations surrounding us after we have stopped making sound. The sounds linger; they embrace us. I can honestly say that I have never felt more present than the moment after a mantra. I therefore pose Christopher’s question again: “How about if instead of letting it go, you let it be?” We are reluctant to say goodbye to the sensations evoked by a piece of music or a dinner with loved ones, why are we then so quick to advise ourselves and others to “let go” when we feel a loss, a frustration or sadness? Can we be with the sensations we are feeling? Can we allow ourselves the ‘Long Goodbye’? Surely our connection with these feelings invites us to be more present with ourselves than we have previously allowed ourselves to be? Whether abundant and fresh, wilting or in need of some compassion, tend to your own altar, invite your heart in “Live here, and let your heart stream with unending flow of adoration. In this way, tend the altar of love.”