Sich lassen is the German equivalent of the Chinese Wu Wei, letting go, letting things be, a fundamental principle of Taoism. It is also part of the Christian teaching of Surrender though its deeper aspects there are rarely recognised.
Pain - physical and emotional - are great teachers of acceptance, and it is largely through them that I have learned that I am not the owner of my life, that while I am captain of my life, and am continually choosing and adjusting its course, my life has a direction and deep purpose that I cannot fully know or understand, not in this life, and probably not in many lives to come. The only way that I can begin to know my true direction is through acceptance, by recognising the limits of my control and accepting those aspects of life that I can neither control nor understand.
What I have done for most of my life, often to my own detriment is hang on, endure. I am very good at enduring. But enduring is not acceptance. Enduring is holding on with all one's might. Acceptance is letting things be, allowing, letting go of any effort to control, or even to understand. Letting go is Surrender. That is sometimes I learned very slowly, and with many false starts.
Yet learn it I did, more or less, and my poems were full of that learning.
Sich Lassen I 1982
I thought I understood
until the ground opened and
the scaffolding tumbled into the dark.
I will save it, I cried,
With ropes I will raise it
with water I will wash it clean
But eons I have waited through long moaning nights
and the ropes are slack.
There are no answers, are there?
Only the vast loneliness of Self
whispering in the deafening noise of mind,
‘Let go. Let be.’
Sich lassen II 1987
Oh sing to me
my earth, my stars, my bright blue planet
Sing to me of dreams that I have
let slide out of my heart
for I have found that all I thought to give
is still at my fingertips.
With His own hand, God takes what He needs.
Sing to me oh every voice
each man, woman and child
for we are ONE.
Nothing that is taken ever leaves.
Every gift is ours
for we are ONE.
Sich lassen III 1987
The gods give no answers to those who seek
They withhold the words from one who would speak
They withdraw the truths one depended upon
and offer strange gifts when all else is gone.
What have they given me, this in my hand
that I cannot give back, that I don’t understand?
I once sought to question. I no longer dare
Just water the flowers they wove in my hair.
Yet in certain conditions, I still struggle with letting go, with accepting the suffering and injustice imposed on so many, the intentional misuse and abuse of power over others for personal or political gain: the many persistent wars that are killing so many for the ambitions and greed of men; the knowing destruction of natural environments for the sake of greed; the evil perpetrated against fellow humans in the name of religion and ideologies ..... Every day, something in me burns, and I must call on Spirit to help me quench the flames.
And I do. I turn within, and there beneath my first reactions I find a steadfast recognition that even the worst of things may be part of our spiritual unfolding, and that even within pain, injustice, mankind's cruelty can be found God's infinite love, offered without judgement, without blame or disappointment in the undying desire for our awakening.
I used to find the phrase, 'give it over to Jesus or God' selfish, a form of escapism and avoiding of responsibility. It has taken me until now, late in my life, to understand the value of acceptance, not trying to escape anguish over human suffering, or my own, but allowing it as part of my human experience, and knowing that I can share it with my God, the Beloved that is within me and fills the universe, who knows the suffering of every human heart, of each creature, and at every moment, offers comfort. I let go, and in letting go, release that which hurts, which burns with outrage or sorrow so that my heart can fall lightly into the comfort of the Holy, which is my foundation.
Sich lassen IV - Surrender 2016
To breathe out desire, breathe in stillness
To open the heart that beats loud and afraid
to the fierce love that knocks
To say, Come in
To let flow through veins and fingertips
that which causes such pain
and find oneself
Art by Tatiana Wright. Photo of Natasha doing yoga.