One thing I’ve discovered about listening to what is emerging is that sometimes the answer is “No.” I made a proposal to a group recently that I thought would make things easier, and the group decided not to adopt the the idea. I understood the reasons, but emotionally it was hard to let go.
And why is that? You’d think that letting go of something would take much less effort than building it. But it’s so much harder to do. It’s like exercising a muscle that’s seldom used—it’s tight and sore at first. But the more we use it, the easier it becomes and the stronger we become.
Letting go is the difference between operating on ego power or operating on spirit power. Ego power is like pushing a boulder up a hill. I push and push with all my might and will and I gain a few inches. Spirit power is about stepping back and realizing that, actually, the boulder needs to be at the bottom of the hill—and gravity is an excellent means for getting it there. It’s about working with natural processes rather than against them.
Ego power is limited and exhausting. Sometimes I feel like I’m holding onto a rock with all my might while the river rushes around me. I want to be right! But spirit power is unlimited and uplifting. It’s about letting go of my rock and allowing the current to carry me. This is the current of wisdom and insight. Even if we, as a group, make the wrong decision… if we all get behind it, we can see very quickly that something else is needed. But if I insist on my own idea—if I cling to my rock and focus on trying to be right—I just create turbulence and the path forward isn’t clear.
Spirit power becomes even more important as our success increases. It’s easy to see the need to let go of our attempts to force things. That’s obvious. It’s harder to see the need to let go of our success. When people do listen to me and I actually have an influence on the group, it’s so easy to let that go to my head. But the reality is, it’s not me they hear, but rather the wisdom that comes through me. When I let go of myself, when I let go of my ego, I become a channel for that wisdom to flow through me to others. If I can keep exercising that spirit power—and keep that channel clear—the wisdom, awareness and insight can flow freely. If I start acting on ego power, then I start wanting people to listen to me and I’m back to pushing boulders up the hill again.
Letting go is not easy. All that hard work I put into building up my idea… I get pretty attached to it. But if we are to be successful at listening to what is emerging, letting go is essential.