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Just Let go

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One of the most important lessons I have learned in my life so far is Letting Go. Letting go of the illusion of control.

I don't remember how old I was exactly, maybe my early twenties, but I remember the feeling of my eyes suddenly opening to the fact that I have no control over any other person. It was startling, and although you might assume that it was a depressing realization, in fact, it was a huge relief! I suddenly had a very large weight lifted off my shoulders. Realizing that I cannot control other people also meant that I have no reponsibility for their actions! It also meant that I can free myself of the methods of manipulation I had previously been consumed with. It was the most refreshing and freeing concept I had ever come to terms with.

There were so many obstacles in my life that I could overcome by simply letting go. Harboring hate for someone because I did not agree with their actions. Hating that person and letting their actions eat at me day and night. All I had to do was to let go! Set it down and walk away. I cannot control them, so why bother? They are going to do what they're going to do, so why try to change it? Just let go, and be free of it!

This does not mean that I am not still affected by other's actions, it just means that I don't have to dwell on it anymore. I take it at face value. It is what it is. Now I can make a decision on whether or not to respond or react, and how.

Since that time, I have struggled with the problems of this country. The politics that drive our nation disgust me. What is the correct approach to solve our nation's woes? What can I do? How do I get involved? What kind of system do we need?

I started with the idea of freedom. The very basic concept that each and every man and woman has the freedom to do whatever they want, so long as they do not harm others. Zechariah Chafee, a civil libertarian, said "Your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man's nose begins." It's a very simple yet powerful principle.

The princple of civil liberty can be linked to the idea that we cannot control others. If we have no control over another person, we must respect every person's right to do as he pleases, so long as he does not hurt anyone else. The part that gets messy is trying to enforce punishments when someone does hurt another. Who has the power to punish? What are the punishments? Who decides guilt or innocence? An imbalance in power among people suddenly messes up the whole structure. It seems that people are corrupted by power.

So how do we let go? How do we walk away from the suffering of others? If we see one man hurt another, what are we supposed to do? If we try to punish the other man, for revenge or so that the man does not hurt any other men, we have to give the power to punish to someone, we have to relinquish power to another human, or to several humans, so that they can assign blame, and then punish according to a set of laws that another human decided upon. And then we have another problem: some men may lie in order to punish their enemies. They will use the system to their advantage. There are so many problems with any power structure, because there will always be flaws in the system that allow those without morals to get ahead, and take advantage of those with morals.

So by setting up systems of governing bad men, we inadvertently set up systems to take advantage of good men. And so, I believe, the only way to let men live free, is to let go. Stop trying to control them. They cannot be controlled. The more you try to control them, the more you will realize that you cannot. You cannot make anyone do anything. And most of the time, by trying to control something, you make it worse. Just let go.


  1. sailingaway's Avatar
    well said.