Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender
Dr Hawkins was a brilliant and inspiring healer who was able to go beyond the prevailing views of mainstream psychology and western medicine. A practicing psychiatrist, he offered an unconventional yet profoundly compelling perspective, particularly with regard to issues related to mental health and spirituality. He was a prolific writer and had 13 books published during his lifetime, two of which were best-sellers. If this excerpt resonates with you, check him out!
One of the biggest blocks to overcome in getting out of depression and apathy is that of blame. Blame is a whole subject in itself. Looking into it is rewarding. To begin with, there are a lot of payoffs to blame. We get to be innocent; we get to enjoy self-pity; we get to be the martyr and the victim; and we get to be the recipient of sympathy.
Perhaps the biggest payoff to blame is that we get to be the innocent victim and the other party is the bad one. We see this game played out in the media constantly, such as the endless blame games dramatized in the multitude of controversies, mudslinging, character assassinations and lawsuits. In addition to the emotional payoff, blame has considerable financial benefits; therefore, it is a tempting package to be the innocent victim, as it is often financially rewarded.
Blame is the world’s greatest excuse. It enables us to remain limited and small without feeling guilty. But there is a cost – the loss of our freedom. Also, the role of victim brings with it a self-perception of weakness, vulnerability, and helplessness, which are the major components of apathy and depression.
The first step out of blame is to see that we are choosing to blame. Other people who have had similar circumstances have forgiven, forgotten, and handled the same situation in a totally different way. We consider the case of Viktor Frankl, who chose to forgive the Nazi prison guards and to see a hidden gift in his experience at the concentration camps. Because others, such as Frankl, have chosen not to blame, that option is open to us. We have to be honest and realize that we are blaming because we choose to blame. This is true, no matter how justified the circumstances may appear to be. It is not a matter of right or wrong; it is merely a matter of taking responsibility for our own consciousness. It is a totally different situation to see that we choose to blame rather than to think that we have to blame. In this circumstance, the mind often thinks, “Well, if the other person or event is not to blame, then I must be.” Blaming others or ourselves is simply not necessary.
The attraction of blame arises in early childhood as a daily occurrence in the classroom, playground, and at home among siblings. Blame is the central issue in the endless court proceedings and lawsuits that characterize our society. In truth, blame is just another one of the negative programs that we have allowed our mind to buy because we never stopped to question it. Why must something always be someone’s “fault”? Why must the whole concept of “wrong” be introduced to the situation in the first place? Why must one of us be wrong, bad or at fault? What seemed like a good idea at the time may not have turned out well. That’s all. Unfortunate events may have just happened.
To overcome blame, it is necessary to look at the secret satisfaction and enjoyment we get out of self-pity, resentment, anger, and self-excuses, and to begin to surrender all of those little payoffs. The purpose of this step is to move from being a victim of our feelings to choosing to have them. If we merely acknowledge and observe them, begin to disassemble them, and surrender the component parts, then we are consciously exercising choice. In this way, we make a major move out of the morass of helplessness.