Living by letting go

My most recent encounter ‘dealing with the flu virus’ brought me to my knees to understand fully what it means to let go and let the life force flow freely in me. I was ‘battling’ continuously with the virus with all the remedies I can find. And with every attempt to ‘control’ the situation, the virus persists in staying with me. The ‘wake-up’ call to surrender and let go of control, was when I went into a sporting event with the virus, thinking that I can overcome it with my ’sporting prowess and will-power’, but was stopped short barely 5 minutes into the race, gasping for breath in the midst of  ‘flagging arms and legs’ in deep waters.  During that brief moment, I was completely disoriented and could not muster the strength or the courage to carry on. At that instance, I knew the ego had to finally let go of its control and surrender to the life force. It was eating humble pie in the most dire situation but it woke me up to this ’senseless need for control’. Apparently I have not learned enough to live by letting go, despite numerous lessons in the past. This was another ‘wake up call’.

I could not describe how I felt during this recent encounter as I was not angry or feeling sorry for myself though I acknowledge that I was disappointed that I did not finish the race. However, I was aware that everything happened for a reason, and even if I have yet to know why, I have learned to trust that things will be revealed to me eventually.

I used to shake my fist at the injustice of the world, and I’d rile against tyranny. It made me sad and weak, and it robbed me of energy. In the end I saw that the key to everything is to surrender. I can fix myself but not much else. Surrender offers us the hope of victory in the end, but we have to wait.

Verse 55 from the Tao Te Ching (by Lao-Tzu) taught me to be in harmony with the Life Force:

“He who is in harmony with the Tao is like a newborn child. Deadly insects will not sting him. Wild beasts will not attack him. Birds of prey will not strike him. Bones are weak, muscles are soft, yet his grasp is firm. He has not experienced the union of man and woman, but is whole. His manhood is strong. He screams all day without becoming hoarse. This is perfect harmony. To harmony is to know the changeless; to know the changeless is to have insight. Things in harmony with the Tao remain; things that are forced grow for a while, but then wither away. This is not the Tao. And whatever is against the Tao soon ceases to be.”

When Lao-Tzu mentioned the lives of people who are free from the provocation of ‘deadly insects’, ‘wild beasts’ and ‘birds of prey’, he was saying that when their lives are in harmony with the Tao, things will ‘fall into place’ for them. He said that we should look into infants who haven’t yet taken on the ego belief that they’re separated from their originating Source: They can scream all day and never lose their voices like a screeching adult would. Even with underdeveloped muscles, they can fashion a firm grip. Furthermore, babies are pliable and virtually immune to harm from a fall that would break the bones of a grown-up. All of this is called ‘perfect harmony’ by Lao-Tzu.

This verse invites us to realize that what we call luck isn’t something that randomly happens – it’s ours for life when we decide to live by letting go. We attract the cooperative power of the Tao when we release the need to control our life. Living by letting go means releasing worry, stress, and fear. When we promote our sense of well-being in the face of what appears as danger to others, our alignment with our Source frees us from pushing ourselves to act in a forceful manner. Lao-Tzu reminds us in this verse that ‘things that are forced grow for a while, but then wither away’.

I have learned to see it as a way of allowing life’s natural rhythm to flow unimpeded through me. I don’t fight against the virus anymore and the letting go means allowing it to remain in me for as long as it wants. It sounds like a paradox, but when I made the decision to surrender, I felt the energy of the Life Force flowing freely through me, and now I am back on my feet again.

One Response to “Living by letting go”

  1. NW says:


    I think we have been misled by having a justice system in society to think that there is justice in the world itself. I personally don’t think there is someone who watches out for us from the clouds and dish out appropriate treatment. Buddhist have karma, and since there is no evidence to support nor disregard it, I hold onto it lightly. I realised that since birth, we never had a right to choose where we were born into. And hence, we are sometime condemned to live within a certain environment, however hard we may struggle to free ourselves from it. I recently had an enlightenment when I realised that we were all like fished born in fish tanks. However hard we might strive to break free, we have to accept the fact that some people are born into places we spend our whole lives fighting to reach, and may never make it there. It is so, and we should aim to live fully within our environment.

    Just some of my after thoughts.


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