The process of “Holding On”, or the active principle, has been taught us since childhood. We are told to try harder and work more to achieve our goals. School, workplace, and even economic systems drive into us the value of “holding on”. For many of us, “Holding on” may have become a default state. However, the passive principle of “Letting go” is just as important as this. We must let go of the past to make way for new beginnings. Letting go means flowing with the flow of life. It means trusting the process. It means faith and patience coupled with zero resistance.

We may think that if we were to only “let go” in life, we would neglect our responsibilities and possibly jeopardize our financial, social and psychological security. It may have become clear that we cannot go through life by applying only one of these principles universally. But the question then arises, where do we apply which principle?

Several religious philosophies, as well as thinkers, have attempted to provide an answer to this question.

In Hinduism, Lord Krishna has emphasized the importance of taking action or “holding on” when it comes to the performance of action but “letting go” when it comes to the outcome of an action.

We may “hold on” as long as we have some control over the performance of an action and “let go” when things are out of our control. Some resist “letting go” because lack of control is scary. Lack of control can feel terrifying when we do not trust the process and lack faith that things will eventually be okay.

Lack of control over external circumstances can also be scary when we lack control over our minds and find it difficult to regulate our emotions. Because when we lack control over our minds, we do not trust ourselves enough to get us through life’s challenges. Trust in oneself is one of the foundational principles for trusting people and things extraneous to us. Furthermore, trusting the process can come to us more quickly if we trust ourselves.

Some of us fear change because it involves things getting undone before they can be done better. For instance, when we clean a room, we may create a bit of a mess before the room feels clean again.

This fear of things becoming undone again stems from a lack of trust in the process of life. If we were to have faith that the room would be clean again (which it would be) or that our lives would eventually work out just fine, this fear would dissipate.