In these days leading up to Holy Week, the words of Jesus resound loudly: “Whoever wants to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses it for my sake will keep it” (Mt 10:39). It was the logic of his life. It is an absurd law in economics, where gain reigns, but it is decisive in spirituality, where “giving” is the only thing that truly enriches us. This is underlined again by the Johannine metaphor of the grain of wheat that only if it dies does not produce much fruit (Jn 12,24). This lesson is the complete opposite of the contemporary imperative of possession, of the uncompromising defence of property, of having over being.
This sends shivers down our spine. There may be many of us who feel incapable of “exaggerated” detachments. But we are capable of other detachments more within our reach that bring us miraculous benefits. One reality that we should let go of as soon as possible is our obsessions. We live very tense lives, clinging to things, roles and people. This wears us down terribly. We lack basic trust. In trying to secure everything we use up the best of our energy and life slips through our fingers. We are overwhelmed by rushing, antipathies, self-image, irrational manias, doubts, phobias, fears, health problems, schedules, perfectionism, insistent guilt,… and so much more!
Many of us suffer from them or know others who do. How can we help them? How can we help ourselves? A thought by A. Vergote, a specialist in psychology and spirituality, surprised me by the clarity and brevity with which he explains how to overcome obsessions. I share it here in case it is useful:
“God and prayer can and do help. But the problems of obsession are mainly problems of over-concentration… and over-concentration is only broken when we get out of ourselves, out of our own minds and inner selves. Get involved in public events, entertainment, social life, activities… Get out of your closed world!”
It is a therapy based exclusively on knowing how to lose. Letting go is trusting that what is meant to come will come and that we will know how to receive it. If we involve ourselves in altruistic tasks, in free services, in works of mercy, in housework, in valuable readings or films… overcoming this spiral that entangles us in our obfuscations, we will feel emotionally better, more stable, less enslaved by our own “neuroses”. On the other hand, trapped in our fixations, whatever comes – even if it is good – becomes a prison. And if we regularly detach ourselves from these useless tendencies, to the point of making a lifestyle out of knowing how to lose, it will not only nourish our spiritual life, but will keep us healthy, serene and better.
Juan Carlos cmf