It's that time of the year when we are racking our brains for the next year's resolutions. We are eager to make promises to ourselves, excited to have a fresh start. But before we begin something new, we have to close the loop and let things go. Before we start 2015, we have to deal with 2014.
Have you seen how minimalists live? They own very few things, and so they have very few possessions to worry about. To live the yogic path is like that, not just in reducing the physical things we own, but even more importantly, to reduce the emotional attachments and burdens that we own. Minimalists know that they have to get rid of stuff if they want to acquire new ones. That way, their living quarters do not get cluttered. Similarly, we would need to learn how to let go- of our anger and our worries and our insecurities and our fears etc- if we want space in our lives.
Close your eyes. Allow yourself to go through an inventory of the year 2014. What were the highs, the lows, the peaks, the throughs. It's a personal inventory, so go through them all. Go through not only the good which you will proudly share with others, but also go through the hard stuff, the things you told only a few close friends or even the things you have kept completely secret, the things that you want to deny even to yourself. Go through your successes, your perceived failures, your accomplishments, your struggles. Go through what you are proud of, what you are ashamed of. Go through your joy, your fear, your satisfaction, your guilt. Go through your compassionate moments, your periods of apathy, your bursts of excitement. Go through your spiritual practice, your yoga practice, your relationships, your job, your physical health, your mental well-being, your intellectual growth, your financial situation. Go through them all without picking and choosing. Observe them all. Then let them go. Let go of the good so you can reduce craving and clinging. Let go of the bad so you can manage aversions and disappointments. See them for what they are, then let them go.
Every time you come into a forward bend in your yoga practice, let that be a reminder to let go. Notice if you have a tendency to pull back. What is stopping you? Is it fear of moving forward into the unknown? Is it the discomfort of letting go of what is familiar? Is it the reluctance of confronting the temporary discomfort? Let go of it all. If it seems overwhelming and impossible to do, then let go a little bit at a time. Do it at your own pace.
It is often said that life is a journey. Indeed it is. There are many unexpected twists and turns. And to make this journey easier, it helps to travel light, to go without excess baggage, to release that which does not give us joy. When we learn to let go, we start to love without clinging, live without being afraid, give without expecting anything in return. Use "let go" as a mantra. Every breath, every moment, every resolve is to let go.