You can’t wilfully let go

When to make the effort and when to let go?

“Effort and grace are two sides of one same moment and this is not to be feared”. I believe that effort is what you make when you are finding your way towards clarity. Once the clarity is there, you do not need to make an effort anymore. It all flows. It’s the preparing, the skilful action.

To compare it to the practice, I can easily see the uphill moment of working your body in geometric shapes, making the effort as you create more and more space inside. This is why the action becomes a skill, not to be skilful in itself but to find ease.

You start off with lots of resistance, lots of effort to make. The more you work yourself through it, the easier it becomes because you are at the same time developing a skill. Like a martial art warrior, you become the practice. You become the action. When there is oneness with the action, there is no longer an effort to make. It is flowing by pure consciousness.

Maybe this is what it means by “you can’t wilfully let go”. You use your will as you are making the effort and you will feel resistance all along. The work itself will define how long you will be making the effort. How long you will be working uphill.

For some reason, I wanted to translate this into an explanation on how to know when to let go and when to make the effort. Somehow I feel like the answer is then, the letting go comes automatically when there is no more need for effort.

If we would try to apply this idea on human relations, our romantic relationships in particular.

The lesson goes hand in hand with the teachings of Abraham, saying “if you leave the relationship, then you better get out of town too”. What they mean by that is that the dynamic that you are trying to get out of, the effort that you do not wish for anymore, is yours and not someone else’s. So if you leave it without making your way into ease, you will pick it up again the next time a situation presents itself.

Let’s take the phrase of the Buddha again: you can’t wilfully let go: the trick to find “letting go”, the ease, is to let it happen when the time is right. By deciding to let go, you are still in resistance. You are still in the effort making. I can only see change coming from understanding. When I can apprehend the situation differently, I can then position myself elsewhere and in a place of ease.

Transformation of Self is necessary to finding “letting go”.

Mark Nepo says: to make the most of being here, we’re required to learn when to try and when to let go. This is our initiation to grace.

The practice of being human centers on our effort to connect to all life and, when in trouble, to make use of our heart.

No one quite knows how to do this, but we must learn how.

Our life depends on this journey through the heart.

There is no other way.

But fully living the one life we’re given, we’re led to the wisdom that waits in our heart.

I believe that the transformation of Self that I am talking about, is the what Nepo calls the wisdom that waits in our heart. 

Because we protect ourselves from pain, the voice of the heart is silenced and it is only through the experiences we have as we make the efforts, that we truly begin to open the path to that wisdom again.

So instead of striving to know if it’s the moment to let go, keep making the effort but not passively or unconsciously. Make it your skilful action, just like your practice. Just like the martial art’s warrior. I know I’m leaving you with little concrete to rely on as an answer to the original question, but I think it’s because the effort needs to be stimulated with curiosity and I don’t have a clear answer to this.

What you take that isn’t given, only lasts a while.

Buddha: don’t take what is not given. If you do, eventually you consume yourself.

Hi, I’m Charlotte (Yogi Cha). I’m a yoga teacher with a degree in clinical psychology. I’ve always had a deep curiosity toward eastern and western approaches to understanding the mind, and the mind/body union. You’ll find me in the lovely Canggu Bali, nestled amongst coconuts, palm trees and sunshine 🥥🌴🌞