The change of seasons, particularly the onset of spring and autumn, tend to bring into focus the subject of “letting go” in my mind. Back in February, as spring was approaching, we had discussed “letting go” in the context of Making Space for the Sacred with the wonderful Marjory Mejia. Now, with autumn upon us (in the Northern Hemisphere), I felt it was time to revisit the subject of “letting go”, in a slightly different context. That context is renunciation…
Before we delve into renunciation, permit me to tell you a short story about one of the most famous festivals in India, usually observed around this time of the year. The supreme divinity, in the form of Ganesha, the “remover of obstacles”, is celebrated with a special festival. Large statues of Ganesha, some the size of small buildings, are created by devotees who then proceed to adorn them with clothes, jewelry, and other offerings. On a smaller scale, this process is repeated within people’s homes, with smaller statues and rituals. This continues for a period of ten days… And then, on the tenth and final day, all of these statues which had been created with such love and devotion, are taken in huge processions to the nearest water body… and immersed. It is an individual “letting go” as much as it is a collective “letting go"…
So, one may wonder – why go through all the time and expense and energy to create these magnificent statues, if, in the end, the community knows beforehand that they are going to only be around for a mere ten days? Perhaps it is because that, for most of us, we can only know the formless (higher Self) by first knowing it in physical form. Hence, we create these ‘temporary’ physical manifestations of our faith, and when we are done with the physical ‘trinkets’, we let go of them. It is the tangible that eventually connects us to, and helps us appreciate the intangible. It is only when we have known poverty, that we learn to appreciate wealth (or the other way around). It is only when we have wandered in the darkness, that we appreciate the light within us, and the light of others.
But, I digress. We were talking about "letting go”. For some, it may be the physical act of ‘cleaning out our closets’, so we can make space for new wardrobes. Or letting go of the clutter in our offices. Or the clutter on our computers, tablets, phones and other electronic devices. Is it only me or does it not seem to you sometimes that we are ‘drowning’ – not immersed, but ‘drowning’ – in electronic noise and clutter? In a sense, physical letting go is relatively easy for some of us, as compared to the mental letting go – of our beliefs, our addictions, our habits that no longer serve us well, and so on.
I invite you to join me and the #SpiritChat community on Sunday, September 22nd 2013 at 9am ET ~ to give some thought to renunciation. What is that one thing (or set of physical things), that one thought process (or set of thought processes), that one belief (or set of beliefs) that does not serve us well on our spiritual path any more? What will it take for us to let go of them, to renounce them completely?
Perhaps it is time. Perhaps that ‘tenth day’ is here for us – the day of immersion, of letting go, of moving towards renunciation.
P.S. For those who are curious, the festival is called Ganesha Chaturthi. Namaste!