The Atom’s Width of Letting Go

Right next to uncertainty, suffering, anxiety, difficulties, there is complete peace, happiness, ease, wellbeing, and joy. There is a minimal step between them, an atom’s width, a neuron. The step between the two – between suffering and peace – is letting go. Releasing. Releasing a desire, releasing an idea about happiness or how things should be, releasing control, wanting things to be a certain way, to stay the same, not change.

If I am suffering because I don’t like the way things are going, I can realise this is because I desperately want things to go how I think they should. A mad attempt to control the uncontrollable. An attempt to establish permanence in an uncontrollably changing universe. I cling to permanence in an impermanent existence.

The moment I realise this folly, that it’s my desire, or my mind’s attempt at control that is causing me all my anguish, that I can’t control a thing, the moment I let go of all of that, there is complete peace. Real joy at the realisation, at being on the other side. All I have to do is let go. On the other side, just an atom’s width away from all the suffering, is the freedom of impermanence, of letting go, of acceptance, of stepping back and watching life dance along. I can join in, I can take part, but I don’t need things to go one way or another. Whatever happens happens, I smile at it all.

That’s the atom’s width between suffering, and peace and joy. A single step in my mind. Once you realise this, you also realise that it’s completely up to oneself to decide which side you want to be on. Let go, let go, again and again, and you live in a special kind of freedom. One atom’s width away.

“The mind is its own place and, in itself can make a heaven of hell or a hell of heaven.” – John Milton

“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” – William Shakespeare