One of the 12 signs of spiritual awakening I mentioned earlier sounds like something I’ve heard in other traditions.
“An increased tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.”
It sounds like what’s on a popular bumper sticker:
“Let Go and Let God”
It also sounds like the ideas behind the first three steps of the AA 12-step program.
1 – We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
2 – Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3 – Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
And it also sounds like the adage I’ve heard so many times:
“Go with the flow”
In any of these cases, the kernel of truth seems to me that there’s a balance point for us to seek. Separating what’s within our control from the many things outside our control. I think it was Ralph Waldo Emerson who pointed out that we’re on a slag heap that’s hurtling thousands of miles a minute through space, so how much control can we have? (okay, now scientists tell us the Earth is traveling 107,218 kilometers per hour around the Sun – the point remains)
Sometimes when I hear statements about letting things happen, I get concerned that it might be a cover-up for not even needing to try. After all, the ego can be tricky. Then I remember that the goal isn’t to try; it’s to do. There’s a difference between activity, but action. Activity can stir up all kind of indignant entitlement and enflame the ego’s sense of worth, where action is simply what has been done. In practical terms, it’s less important about how much effort we’ve put in than it is about how effective we are.