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Let It Be
In 1968, as the Beatles were on the verge of breaking up, Paul McCartney was on the verge of a breakdown—lonely, depressed and exhausted from resisting everything that was going on. Then one night, he had a dream about his mother, Mary, who had passed when he was 14:
[T]here was her face, completely clear, particularly her eyes, and she said to me very gently, very reassurringly, “Let it be.”
It was lovely. I woke up with a great feeling. It was really like she had visited me in this very difficult point in my life and gave me this message: be gentle, don’t fight things, just try and go with the flow and it will all work out.
In Patanjali’s classical eight-limb yoga is a practice called Isvara Pranidhana. It means surrender to what is. In short, let it be. To give up the struggle and allow everything to simply be, exactly as it is, can free up a tremendous amount of trapped energy which then becomes available to heal your body, your mind, and ultimately your life. For Paul, this liberation was immediate: he got out of bed, went to the piano, and the lyrics flowed effortlessly, practically writing themselves. Soon afteward he got together with Linda, who ended up singing harmony on what became the title song on the album and a healing statement for Paul, the rest of the Beatles and generations of people.

For many of us, surrendering to what is isn’t so easy. For some it can be terrifying. But even fear, when you let it be and simply observe it for what it is, loses its power and returns its energy back to you.

Lily, my oldest daughter, recently entered her teenaged years. A few Saturdays ago I went to pick her up at the mall and she wasn’t there. When I called her cell, she told me she’d gone off to visit a friend (male) who lived in a neighborhood nearby, and that she was locked inside “the gate.” She didn’t know the code, the address—nothing. The anger and anxiety welling up inside me, when I watched it, managed to pass almost instantly. It became clear how futile it was to try changing what was beyond my control. I was surprised how mellow I was, how easy it was to forgive Lily and accept the situation. Eventually she called me from a convenience store, at which point I simply drove there, picked her up, and calmly communicated the consequences: grounded for ten years.

Try this meditation. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and let go of everything—your likes, dislikes, tensions in your body, feelings, beliefs—everything. Relax with whatever arises in your field of awareness: thoughts, feelings, sensations, the fly that keeps landing on your nose. Can you simply watch, without attaching? You’ll soon realize it’s not your attachments from which you’re detaching. It’s the habit of attaching, of fighting change, of arguing with what is.

Let it be.

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