So instead of holding on, I let go. Letting go seems to imply that we stay in one place, and the beloved person, or object we were holding on to moves away from us. Like planets and the very universe itself, we are always moving away from each other, aren’t we? And when we let go, we let go of what we thought anchored us, not what we kept anchored to ourselves.
I saw the movie Spiderman with my son (who being 14 at the time, let me come with him and his friend, but made me sit in another row. Moving away, moving away.) In the movie Spiderman begins to lose his powers. He is climbing a wall and loses his grip. We see him falling, panic on his face, bouncing off walls and landing on top of a car.
That is what letting go is really like—it isn’t what I grasp which falls away, since I could never hold it to begin with. It is my self who is suddenly falling through the vastness of space, bouncing into a few things here and there, headed most likely for a hard landing. I don’t hold on to things so that I can keep them, but to feel I am on solid ground; to feel that as everything rushes by me, I stay unmoving. I am in a rushing river, and clutching the roots of a tree on the shore, rather than letting go into the flow of life.
But unlike dreams where we are falling, the goal is not to learn to fly. No, it may simply be to learn to accept falling, to see that there is no firm hold anywhere. Or perhaps with practice we learn, as they put it in “Toy Story,” another movie I watched repeatedly with my son: That’s not flying—it’s falling with style.