The truth is that we all carry our baggage with us. Whether we know it or not and whether we want to see that or not, it is there. Constantly there, like a suitcase that we drag along our way.
This suitcase contains numerous things – the roles we play in our daily lives, our property, our business, our expectations, our aspirations, our worst and best attributes, our fears, our anger and our stress. Everything that we are is there. And we have invested a huge amount of energy in adding things to that suitcase because accumulating is somehow making someone more important or better.
Anyone will most probably have also a piece in the suitcase that is called “control”. We want things to evolve in a specific way and with a particular outcome. And it is this part of our baggage that will not allow us to make a pause, take a look at what we are carrying, self-reflect on the necessity of what we currently have and see if we need to “lose” some of those things along the way.
As long as we are on an automatic pilot, we can go on living without actually looking back to what this suitcase has in it. And nothing wicked can happen. A life will pass and we will have been dragging a suitcase with us. It might be limiting at times but that’s all, right? Well, the answer to that depends on whether you feel there is a calling – a wake-up call if you like for something that might have the opportunity to be freer in you.
At some point, we might feel a constraint – restricted by the weight of things we are carrying along. (A blessing in disguise here – be prepared!) As long as these are unexamined and we are keeping all of them as precious, no change is possible. We will still be walking down the same road, making the same choices (remember “The Matrix”?). Because frankly, you can’t really take any other road when you are carrying all this weight with you. And that uneasiness or constraint in your life might eventually lead you to therapy or some other practice that can potentially help you.
It is because of that uneasiness and constraint that you can make the decision to look back at what you are carrying along the way with you.
If you finally realise that you want to let go of some weight – you will still need to see how you can take things away from the suitcase. Because you have somehow become attached to the suitcase. It is part of you now. You perceive this suitcase as something not separate from you (labelling ourselves – my previous post is relevant to this process). It has become part of you in your mind. And it can be really intimidating to lose something that is you. And thus, you cannot let go because the pain is too great. These “things” in the suitcase have your invested time and energy and thus have become important to you as you have attached part of yourself to them. So you just don’t want to let go.
The first rule of letting go – realising control
The first rule then is this – in order to let go, first, you must understand that you can’t or even better that you don’t want to let go. That you have become accustomed to your pain. And “better the devil that you know”. Hanging on to this suitcase has become important to you.
The second rule of letting go – there is always a cost
From this, the second rule is that you need to understand that taking things off the suitcase will have a cost. It was easier to put things in the suitcase as it used to be empty and have plenty of space. However, taking them off and letting go is challenging – it is not without a sense of pain. Because I lose part of who I thought I was. This is difficult and requires devotion, commitment and understanding of how things in life work. Undoing the harm we have caused in us, requires conscious effort. In other words, we need to train ourselves not to shrink back from something we find disagreeable or that requires effort or that it is difficult or challenging.
All these are important because you will eventually have to let go in order to let come. And as (I think it was Joseph Campbell who said it):
You have to leave behind the life that you live,
in order to live the life that is waiting for you.
But are you ready for the cost that this entails?