“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
We hold onto our futures as though the answer to our happiness lies in them. We look towards our futures with the hopes that in them, we will find ourselves, and finally be everything we have wanted to be–more rich, more secure, more loved, more recognized.
We hold on, believing that the answer to happiness lies in a moment just a bit always away from now, when we have that relationship, that body, that house, that job, or retirement.
We live each day, looking away from where we are, to a moment that doesn’t actually exist, to an illusion of a time and place that is better than where we are.
It is as if we wear blinders over our eyes, and we refuse the present, not believing that where we are right now is enough.
But what if right now was enough? You may ask, how can right now be enough if I don’t have all that I want?
Because it is in the needing and the wanting of what you don’t have that actually separates you from being content, today, right now.
And it is in the letting go, the surrender, of the need and desire for anything in the future, that frees and liberates you to actually enjoy where you are right now.
There is something so scary about letting go of the desire for future, for things, for material wealth and accolade, because everyone else has these goals right? Perhaps our culture / society is blinded into believing these things are the meaning of happiness.
Because even when you have such and such, go whereabouts, and are so and so, you still have to face this moment.
No matter what you consume, materialistically, monetarily, with your eyes ears and mouth, you still are confronted with the stillness, the emptiness, the aloneness, the stark reality of this moment.
When you hold onto the future as your source of joy, you see this moment as merely a means to an end. When the moment because a stepping stone, your life becomes a myriad of stepping stones, leading to a future that never actually comes. And the joy that you thought was in the future becomes like a mirage–so close yet so far.
Surrender and dying to the self has many meanings, but I understand it to mean letting go of the need for anything in order to feel whole and complete. Why cut yourself off from completeness, wholeness, aliveness, life itself, when you can feel and be all that now? I’m not telling you to negate desire for things or anything for that matter. But watch out for desire. Because it has a tricky tendency of convincing us that we need more outside of ourselves in order to be fulfilled, in order to “make it” in the eyes of the world.
What happens when you let go of these contingencies, these wants and needs of the flesh? You are free to be here, fully, now, no matter what.
Not when you have this or that and not when you think you are this or that. When there is no more contingency on your awareness and your attention to be fully present to the moment, there is no more contingency to for happiness. You are free.
The very limits and conditions that you place for yourself and define as “happiness” becomes the very wall that blocks you from experiencing, from living. Who knows what the future holds, but all I know is that it feels good to be free of the need for anything to be happy. I can be happy, now, no matter what.
“Freedom is the oxygen of the soul.” – Moshie Dayan