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A Guide to Love, God, Prayer, Meditation, & Peace Within You—Right Now

Letting Go is True Forgiveness

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My lessons over the last half of my life have been escalating versions of what it means to let go. Our pending estate sale of most of what we own, inherited from over 3 generations and accumulated through a lifetime of work, bring the experience of letting go front and center in my life.

The contemplation of death is the ultimate lesson on letting go.  Today, as I walked my aging dog and myself, both under the duress of chronic pain, I thought of my mother. During the last two decades of her life she suffered from chronic pain, which kept her in bed.  Doctors could not diagnose the cause, but piled on the medications to mask the symptoms.  Her body adapted readily to each new pain medication, so ultimately, none of them worked. Most of the family, including myself, was chronically upset by her choices, and frustrated by our inability to help her as she wasted-away for 19 years in bed.

My thoughts went to my mother. She was a housewife, who loved her children intensely, kept a spotless house, fed us all too well, and loved us unconditionally. While she did not consider herself to be an intellectual, like my dad, she always defended my right to voice divergent opinions, of which I had plenty. I first learned about the power of love from my mother. However, I did not learn about its source within me, before her death. That is something I regret, for I could have been a less judgmental daughter, if I’d only realized it.

What does this have to do with “letting go”? I realized that whatever being my mother really is, I shaped what she was to me with my own ego, my own brain, my own character. Her persona, to me, is nothing more than my thoughts about her, then and now. What was she to herself? I’m sure that the persona she knew is not the same as the persona I think of as “mom”. Likewise, I’m sure my own children don’t really know the persona that I think of as me, though each of them has their own mental construction of who I am.

What is true about my mother is the love she expressed, which I always felt coming from her. Everything else is an aberration of reality, designed by my own brain. She doesn’t have a character independent of what I thought of her, of what my children thought of her, of what my father thought of her, or of what she thought of herself. Letting go requires that I get it, at a gut level, that my idea of who she was, is nothing more than a collection of my own thoughts, and they are not real, except for the loving thoughts that reflect the nature of all Being.

Was it wrong for me to have these thoughts of who my mother was? No, it is part of the human experience. I can extend acceptance to my thoughts that judged who she was, that fashioned a persona that has now returned to dust. But to accept my self-styled concept of her as truth, in the sense that she really was that concept, is not acceptance, but an unworthy form of validation of my own falsely built persona. Letting go is the act of releasing my belief in the permanent validity of my concept of her. Letting go is the release of my belief in the permanent validity of my concepts of everyone and everything in this world of form. Acceptance is the realization that it is just part of the human experience to build such concepts.

Letting go is true forgiveness.