Just Let Go

The spiritual life is a path of letting go. People often talk of religion as if it were ‘adding something’ to people’s lives but I like to think of it more in terms of subtraction than addition! Faith, to me, is not a question of adopting new ideas, beginning new kinds of behaviour, taking on a new identity, but a question of deliberate self-forgetting in order that we may more truly live. For much of the time, we run the risk of living our lives at a distance, separated from reality by ideas of what should be happening or concepts of what we are seeing around us. These concepts place a preconception between us and what we see. Even to give something a name is to risk pinning it down to a limited definition. Indeed, one of the most intrusive names can be ‘I’ and all we associate with that. We can find it so hard simply to see what’s there, perhaps because we have not really got to grips with the (empty – see yesterday’s post!) nature of the one doing the seeing…

If there is a letting-go at the heart of all spirituality, then this can be challenging to us when our instinct is to hold on all the more tightly. When things are turbulent, we reach for what we think is dependable and solid. ‘I wish I had your faith, it would be such a comfort in difficult times’ is a phrase religious people often hear. But faith is not that kind of thing. It is not a solid fixture to cling to but an assurance that it’s ok to let go, and God is not a supernatural rescue service, but the very Life we discover in the letting-go. God is not outside the storm stretching out a hand to pluck us to safety. God is the storm, and the sea, and the one buffeted by the waves, and the peace.

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