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Spring meditationWhat does it mean to “let it go?”

I’m not specifically referring to the eponymous song from the movie Frozen – but while we’re on the subject, a character in Frozen named Elsa realizes that she does not need to conceal her abilities. Elsa finds that she’s freed from limitations that she has had to face, which means she can joyously utilize her abilities without fear. Elsa lets it go.

Just as we often do in springtime with our homes — when we start to remove the clutter and toss out items that we no longer need – our souls need some periodic spring cleaning as well. In order for our souls to express their true capacities, we need to let go of our limitations, our barriers and our vices and make room for what’s really important – namely, our virtues.

As a psychologist and a Baha’í, I’m always looking for ways in which science and religion agree – one of the basic tenets of my faith. “Letting it go” is a good example of religion and science agreeing with each other. We know scientifically that holding on to anger, fear, hatred, resentment, and other negative emotions hurts us. Those destructive feelings can affect our heart health, they can make us ill, and they can affect our longevity. Similarly, religion teaches us that we should forgive each other, love each other, and treat each other with kindness and honor — and in doing so, we will improve our spirituality. We can each benefit from that process, if we can learn how to make it happen consistently.

So how do we let it go? How do we do a little spring cleaning for the soul?

Psychology tells us to take some deep breaths, meditate, count to 10, etc. “Be positive!” and “smile!” we often hear. While those pieces of advice can and do help sometimes, let’s take the advice a bit deeper. How about breathing calmly, meditating and focusing on something positive, such as a prayer?

Man prayingWhen you pray you connect your inmost essence with something larger, with a greater power and a true reservoir of spiritual energy. You access a deep sense of peace and connectivity. That connection can help you find yourself.

Since I was very young, I have recited this prayer during times of insecurity, fear, or stress:

Is there any remover of difficulties save God? Say: Praised be God! He is God! All are His servants, and all abide by His bidding! – The Bab, Baha’i Prayers, p. 28.

With this prayer, Baha’is seek God’s assistance in times of difficulty – and feel the reassurance that God can help remove each person’s difficulties. Fortunately, the Baha’i writings have several prayers for the difficulties, tests and troubles we all face in life:

I adjure Thee by Thy might, O my God! Let no harm beset me in times of tests, and in moments of heedlessness guide my steps aright through Thine inspiration. Thou art God, potent art Thou to do what Thou desirest. No one can withstand Thy Will or thwart Thy purpose. – The Bab, Baha’i Prayers, p. 29.

This prayer ensures us that God directs the course of all existence, and that if we seek His assistance, He will help us deal with the stressors of life, guiding us along the right path.

‘Letting it go’ means asking God for help and realizing that many of the things which befall us in this earthly world are out of our hands. Put another way: to let it go means, simply, to understand that a greater and wiser Will than ours works in the world.

Coming to that realization — which happens through building a consistent practice of mindful prayer and thoughtful reflection — allows us to do that soulful spring cleaning during every season.

Whether you are a Baha’i, a Christian, a Buddhist, a seeker – whether you’re any faith or no faith — the next time you experience one of life’s difficulties, try a little experiment. Practice some deep breathing and meditation to help you deal with the cares of the world. Feel free to recite one of the prayers mentioned above. See if it helps you center your thoughts and feelings – see if it helps you let it go.

2 Comments

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  • Carol F. Campbell
    May 21, 2014
    This was such a positive reassurance from a professional that the conclusions that I had come to through the Faith and several 12 step programs were correct for me! I can't tell you how much I appreciate your frankness and honesty about the answers being found in many different ways but people could give these prayers a try. I can share this with both Baha'is and folks from other paths. Thank you very much!
    • Jennifer Campbell
      May 24, 2014
      Thank you for your kind words! It is greatly appreciated. Feel free to share; it is an honor.