Tag Archives: release

The Gift of Renunciation

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The focus of today’s blog is a subject I never considered writing about until several recent books I read and am reading referred to the essentialness of it. That topic is renunciation. Typically, we think of the path of renunciation as one where we reject all worldly pleasures, including sexual activity, drinking alcohol, and even culinary pleasures.

The books from these spiritual teachers were speaking to the importance of renunciation from a different perspective. For example, Brother Lawrence, a Carmelite Monk from the 17th century who authored a book entitled Practicing the Presence of God, stated “…the most important part resides in renouncing, once and for all, whatever does not lead to God.”

Looking at it from Brother Lawrence’s perspective, we can likely see the value of renunciation on our spiritual journey. If an activity or way of being does not bring us closer to God, or in other words, closer to our divine nature, why would we want to pursue it?

This does not inherently call on us to give up anything in particular. It will be different for each individual. For example, a couple in a relationship might find sexual intimacy to be something that brings them closer to each other and more in touch with the divine quality of love. Renouncing sexual activity in this case wouldn’t seem to enhance their spiritual journey. On the other hand, a person with a sexual addiction whereby sexual activity brings out the worst in them might be well served to consider renouncing sexual activity, not because sex is inherently a bad thing, but because it is not currently serving them on their spiritual journey.

Swami Muktananda of the Siddha Yoga lineage wrote “Renunciation is necessary, absolutely necessary…It is only the illusion of ‘mine’ in all this that you have to recognize and renounce.” Here, the illusion of mine refers to a sense of separation from God or our divine nature, a sense that we have a unique self that is apart from God. Of course, we do have a unique self, but it is not separate from our divinity. Similar to the guidance from Brother Lawrence, the guidance from Swami Muktananda is to renounce any sense of separation from God.

Chogyam Trungpa of the Shambhala tradition and founder of Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado wrote “What (he) renounces is anything in his experience that is a barrier between himself and others. In other words, renunciation is making yourself more available, more gentle and open to others.” Again renunciation is letting go of that which puts us in separation.

Ernest Holmes, founder of the Science of Mind philosophy, wrote “It is a belief in separation from God which binds and limits.”

We need not renounce anything in particular if it is serving to lift us into joy, prosperity, well-being, and wholeness. The invitation is to renounce that which puts us in a sense of separation from our source, that which binds and limits us. This is unique to each person and we each can know what we are to renounce, or let go of, by honestly and deeply looking into the mirror that is our lives.

Thus, renunciation becomes a path to liberation and inspiration rather than the giving up of anything. What are you to renounce today? What does hinder thee? Perhaps letting go is really claiming the greater possibility that awaits you in your life.

Enjoy the journey.

Gregory Toole offers spiritual coaching to individuals and groups who want to create and live extraordinary lives. For more information, go to gregorytoole.com.

Let It Go!

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In the spiritual practice of visioning that was developed by Michael Bernard Beckwith, one of the questions commonly asked in the practice, as we surrender to a higher vision, is “What am I called upon to release in service to this higher vision?” Having personally led the practice of visioning in many groups, I chuckle in observing that this question is the one where participants most often reply “I didn’t get anything for that question.”

Whenever we are birthing something new there is always something to release, even if is just the status quo, what exists right now.

As we look out into our world where change seems to occur at an ever increasing rate, the ability to release bygones seems even more paramount. Beloved musicians like Prince and Michael Jackson leave our midst. Technologies like smartphones, drones, and driverless cars render older technologies obsolete. Definitions of family and relationships expand. In the political arena, we see major evolution in what voters want from candidates. Yes, change is occurring at a rapid rate.

Accelerated change is not just taking place out there, it is also taking place within us and in our personal lives. There is a degree of restlessness. We want more from life and more from ourselves.

All of this forward momentum is calling us to let go, to release our previously held notions in order to usher in a greater vision for ourselves and for humanity.

What we are called upon to release are limiting ideas and concepts, those that stand in the way of a greater possibility. In this sense, what we are letting go is what no longer serves us, what is holding us back. A divine spark moves within us and speaks forth, “there is more.” Our “yes” to that divine spark includes an inherent “no.” Yes to the new means no to some of the old.

We need not release everything; only that which we see doesn’t fit with standing in the greater truth of who we are and what we are called to be.

One way to decide what needs to be released is to close your eyes and consider the idea, concept, thing, or person and the role it plays in your life. When you bring it into mind and consider it as part of your life, do you feel expanded or contracted? Does it make you feel bigger or smaller? If you feel contracted or smaller with something in your life, it is worth contemplating whether it is time to let it go.

The invitation this week is to ask what am I called to release and let go in service to a greater vision and possibility for my life? And then ask am I willing to release what no longer serves in order to have the greater experience of life that awaits me? You are totally at choice. What do you say?

Enjoy the journey.

Gregory Toole offers spiritual coaching to individuals and groups who want to create and live extraordinary lives. For more information, go to gregorytoole.com.

Surrender: Where The Real Power Is

by Gregory Toole

In our upbringing, most of us have probably known “surrender” to be a negative action, something we surely only do as a last resort. The common definition equates surrender to giving up.

In spiritual terms, the only thing we give up with surrender is our need to be in control of everything. And since we don’t actually control nearly as much as we sometimes think, ultimately we are not giving up much at all when we surrender.

However, we gain much–greater ease, peace of mind, and expanded possibilities for our life that are beyond anything we could ever imagine when we needed to be fully in control.

A big question is, “What are we surrendering to?” What we surrender to is our divine nature, our higher nature. In short, we surrender to God, or whatever we call our higher power.

Another question is, “How do I do it?” The answer to this question is a bit more involved, but the simplest response is that we begin to let go, little by little, of our attachment to specific outcomes and how and when those outcomes come to pass.

In letting go, we get out of the way of our higher nature, making room for grace to come into our lives. Grace can only occur when we get our human ego-centered selves out of the way.

As brilliant as the human brain is, it really is finite in terms of its ability to coordinate the infinite range of activities that need to take place for our lives to be full and, at the same time, for us to be at peace and at ease with life. Our divine, or higher, self is infinite, capable of coordinating an infinite array of simultaneous synchronistic activities on our behalf, all at once.

“How is this possible?” you may say. It is possible due to the infinite intelligence embedded in our divine nature, combined with the reality of oneness, that all of life is one and connected. Surrender aligns us with the flow of this one life and infinite intelligence. In that flow, synchronicities become commonplace and we find that our effort is only a small part of what takes place to get our needs met.

Five Steps

Here are five initial steps to support you in your desire to practice surrender:

  1. Let go of the notion that you’re fully in control.
  2. Spend some time in meditation daily, even if it’s just one minute a day. Use this time to listen for divine wisdom and inspiration, but don’t be attached to getting a result.
  3. When you feel stressed, pause for a moment and get in touch with your breath. Your breath is your connection to life, and thus the flow of life.
  4. Don’t schedule yourself so tightly. Leave at least a little room for divine opportunities (those that match what you want, but not your human timing).
  5. Develop strategies in advance for how you will capture your divine inspirations and insights (e.g., keep a recording device handy). These insights are a gift to you and often provide clarity and solutions that would have required far more human effort to develop if you had waited until you felt you had time to think about them.

The practice of surrender is possible for you. It starts with willingness, and being open to divine guidance. Little by little, you can loosen your grip, and as you do, the ease and peace you’ve been wanting start to become real, and yet your life is even fuller.

Enjoy the journey!

Letting Go Into Your Greater Possibility

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by Gregory Toole

So often it seems as human beings we are waiting for the right moment or the right opportunity in order to step into something greater. Yet, metaphysically we know that we co-create our own experience.

Creating that great new opportunity is as much about letting go as it is about accepting the new. In order to create the new, we must let go of the old. The Christian scripture guides us not to pour new wine into old wine skins.

Right now, for the third time in my career, I am releasing a position without a clearly defined next position in sight. Many people look very surprised when I tell them that. Some even look like they are about to administer me a sanity test.

In my experience, however, I find that sometimes I need to let go of what is, before I can discover the new, that it’s a challenge to hold on to the old, while at the same time bringing forth the new. As I write this, I am imagining an interesting visual of someone carrying around a big sack called “the past” on his back, laboring under its weight, while at the same time attempting to be nimble in navigating the newness that is calling him. It’s not a very graceful picture.

In holding onto what is, we get to feel safer and more comfortable, but perhaps that is a false sense of comfort since nothing in the outer world represents our security and all temporal experiences can change. What if we put our sense of security and comfort in our inner power and creativity, our ability to co-create our experience?

Then we’d be able to move as Spirit moves us, rather than as human comfort dictates. Then we wouldn’t be holding so tightly to things and experiences of the world. Grace would be our experience. Change would not concern us very much at all because we’d be in the flow of change, welcoming it, trusting it, knowing it is always a movement toward greater good in our lives.

I would suggest this way of being is what we are being called to. It is a more natural way for us to live in alignment with our spiritual nature.