Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | July 18, 2011

Letting Go

I think that what distinguishes true masters in the various traditions of spiritual growth is theat they learned how to let go. Really let go. Of everything. It frees one to experience the spiritual enlightenment. It empties the cup.

I have a friend who is about to embark on a bit of a cross country trip. It is a process of letting go. I went through it when my dad died and when I lost my job a few years ago. The move from the house I grew up in and lived in all my life was a real purging letting go process. Condensing and letting go of 45 years of stuff. But both events were also gifts on silver platters, and the only part of it is that I was not ready in either case to really let go of everything. Just most of it. And I’m thinking now, if you have a rope tied around your neck, and you chew through most of it, but still leave a little bit, you still have a rope around your neck.

I still have my attachments. I have my boxes of baseball cards, old photos, a few things I’ve collected and didn’t want to let go of. I like having my apartment and my car and money for food and coffee and cigarettes. So I haven’t let go. I have to work to keep the few things I like and think brings me happiness a few days a week(I’m still refusing to get internet access at home to save some money and I still have flip phone!). But if I could become a master, I would let all these things go. And in letting go, you gain so much more.

As I talk with my friend, we both recognize the fear and anxiety involved. I know I’ve been projecting my own ideas onto him, seeing this as a spiritual pilgrimage, an opportunity for spiritual experience and growth. But it’s scary. I’m not ready to do it, just get in the car and go. And the Attachments are there. Car insurance, phone bill, storage for the few things he’s keeping. And the biggest anxiety question, what does he do when he comes back? Where will he end up?

Neither of us know the answer to that. We both know that 6 months from now, he can go back to doing what he’s been doing. So why keep doing it now when the oppotunity has arisen to take some time off(out).

Wu wei, the art of non doing, and letting go are two of the things that make a master a master.



  1. When my kids were little, we used to have a motor home we’d go camping in all of the time. I met quite a few retirees who were “full timers.”

    Talk about letting go. They have to get rid of just about everything they owned except what would fit into their motor homes or trailers.

    I’m not quite ready to make that choice, but I certainly admired them.

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