To Let Go Is To Live
Often times, we lose ourselves in our own thoughts, becoming ensnared in our mind’s tangled vines of desire. We chase after the elusive dreams of success, validation, and fulfillment, believing that the achievement of this will one day make us happy. And so, we relentlessly pursue them, unaware that this itself is the reason behind our unhappiness.
To let go of this sorrow, we must first understand the art of letting go.
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, the last emperor of the Pax Romana and a Stoic philosopher, had said “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” Thereby, emphasizing on the idea that much of our distress arises from how we perceive situations rather than the situations themselves. Many times, we cannot control what happens to us, and so in these cases we must embrace the practice of "amor fati"––the love of fate. In other words, everything that happens in life, happens for a particular reason, which we may or may not know, contributing to the richness of our existence. No event in our lives, whether it creates suffering or joy, is minor, because it leads you to your ultimate fate. One must understand that while free will is exciting, it is also fleeting. Although, majority of the times we can make decisions and preform actions without constriction, there are also situations we cannot control. In situations as such, Stoicism believes that its important to nurture our perspective to see the positives and opportunities, relieving us of inner torment. Usually when we see a dream slipping from our hands, we end up basking in the suffering that creates; however, most times we overlook the opportunity for growth and transformation that letting go presents. Stoic philosopher, Seneca, had once said that we “…lose the day in expectation of the night, and the night in fear of the dawn,” and this cycle is ceaseless, until we let go of our fears. We try pursuing security and certainty through fearing the unknown and clinging onto to the familiar, even when it no longer serves us. And to realize and break this pattern is where true happiness lies. By cultivating a mindset of detachment and resilience, we empower ourselves to navigate life's inevitable challenges with grace and composure. In a world rife with injustice and conflict, we must focus on what is within our control, to cultivate resilience in the face of adversity, and to find solace in the transient beauty of the present moment. There is no such thing as searching for happiness as it has always been present within us, it is just that we do not look within ourselves to find that happiness. We try finding permanent joy from impermeant objects and situations, only to realize that nothing external can create true happiness. By embracing the temporary nature of everything around us, we begin appreciating the beauty of life as it unfolds, without worrying about the past or future.
It beautiful to begin realizing that there is no chasing happiness; happiness is only a thought away, a perspective away. Everything we need to be happy is right here. But somehow, somewhere, in our endless pursuit to fly, we end up losing sight of the world at our feet.