Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

The Art of Allowing

As a person who often advocates “practice,” I’ve been exploring what it means to practice something. We might have lots of practices. I practice martial arts, for example. Some of us practice mindfulness, meditation, yoga, loving-kindness, and more. When we have an intention to cultivate or develop a skill or a habit, we devote time and attention to it. We might seek a teacher, attend classes or workshops, read books.

But some things don’t need to be, or cannot be, practiced. A baby bird might practice flying, but it does not need to practice being a bird. It simply is a bird. An acorn does not practice becoming an oak tree. The transformation into an oak tree happens effortlessly according to its nature.

Some of us engage in practices hoping to become something we want to be, something we think we’re not. We seek to transform ourselves into some ideal that we fear we will never attain. And we never will because what we seek to become is what we already are. The seeking itself obscures the awareness of our true nature. It hinders our natural growth and transformation.

What is it that we seek? It goes by many names. Awakening. Grace. Enlightenment. These are not practices. They are natural states of awareness, oneness, peace, resonance. These natural states are not practiced. They are allowed. They are allowed by accepting Reality as it is, accepting ourselves as we are.

Allowing, in other words, can be practiced.

How do we practice allowing? The same way we practice anything – we set an intention, and we devote time and attention to it. We seek guidance and support if needed. Here are a few things I’ve discovered in this practice:

At first it was hard to recognize when I was not allowing. Now I know that when I’m struggling, or resisting, or trying to control something or someone, or judging anything (especially myself), I can be sure that there is an opportunity to practice allowing.

My resistance is always rooted in fear. Fear or anxiety closes the door to allowing. So first I need to acknowledge my fear, touch it with compassion, and release it.

Allowing is always rooted in trust. Einstein said that we choose whether to see the universe as hostile or friendly. That is another way of saying that we can choose to trust the universe to manifest its own perfect nature and to embrace us in its current. We can trust our inner wisdom to vibrate in harmonic resonance with this current and to guide us in perfect alignment with its movement.

Allowing often involves listening in stillness. We might not embrace a particular meditation practice, but we do need to quiet the loud chatter in our minds enough to hear the song of the universe whispering in our souls. We can take some deep breaths and simply listen within. We can be patient until our way is revealed.

As with any practice, we get better over time. Allowing becomes integrated into how we engage with our lives. It becomes a habit. There is a sense of effortlessness, wonder, humility, gratitude. The transformation of our lives unfolds naturally. We recognize, to paraphrase the Bible, that we are part of a universe marvelously and wonderfully made. We remember who we are, and live into the truth of our being. Allowing becomes our life art.

Perhaps you have not thought about allowing as a practice in itself, or perhaps you are an old hand at this. Wherever you are is your starting point from this moment forward. If this is a new idea, maybe you would be willing to give it a try. If it is a familiar habit, maybe you could share some of your own discoveries in the comments. Our different experiences can light the way for each other.

All suffering is the resistance of Reality. All awakening and healing is the letting go of resistance. Forgiveness. Allowance. ~The Way of Mastery



10 thoughts on “The Art of Allowing”

  1. Galen, your words truly speak to my heart. I’ve realized more than ever, in the wake of my mother’s passing a week ago, that every moment should be lived to honor the glory of God to enter me, but that is something I must allow to happen. Something is definitely stirring within, like life anew, and I’m embracing all as it unfolds.
    If you’re no longer getting my blog through email, here’s the new link:

    1. I understand that “stirring within” feeling, Martha. I have been experiencing that since the beginning of the year. “Embracing all as it unfolds” is the perfect way to practice the art of allowing.

  2. Your message couldn’t have come at a better time. I embrace letting the Universe guide me. There is an old saying “Don’t push the river, it flows by itself’ You probably already know this but there is a book by Barry Stevens with the same title. I remember this practice of letting go, as well, from a book I read when I was practicing Tai Chi Chuan, “Embrace Tiger, Return to Mountain: The Essence of Tʻai Chi” by Chungliang Al Huang. Your email was a welcomed reminder and it also helped my niece, who I shared it with, who is going through a rough patch right now. Thank You!!!

    1. Yes, I know that old saying, and I’m familiar with that wonderful tai chi book as well. It’s on my shelf right now. Do you still practice tai chi? I find that our bodies have so much to teach us about letting go and allowing energy to move freely through us.

      I’m so glad that this post was helpful to you, and to your niece as well. I hope things get better for her soon. Thanks for commenting, Don.

      1. Don Boisvenue

        I now practice a kind of hybrid hatha yoga. I also incorporated some elements of other disciplines in it. I still have Embrace Tiger. It opened up my yoga practice so much.

  3. One more thing Galen, I always start my daily practice with amnesia. Kind of going back to the Factory Settings and waiting for whatever comes in my current practice.

    1. Thanks for the added comment. Many wisdom teachings speak to letting go of the past. A Course in Miracles, for example, says “The only wholly true thing one can say about the past is that it is not here.” Your description of going back to factory settings is wise…and funny!

  4. Hi Galen, how lovely to be typing this reply on your lovely new site. I love the practice of allowing, I view it as a kind of floating through and taking what comes however it presents itself – it opens the door or seeing how you manage yourself or situations, and how you can help others seems to come from there too. Of course, there are always glitches along the way or major challenges crop up, but ‘alllowing’ is exactly what my floating is. I began practising it after therapy – at first it was done very consciously, but you are so right, with pratice it slowly becomes part of you – a part of you that you can actually enjoy.

    1. So glad you like the website, Lynne. Sounds like your floating/allowing has become your “default” engagement. That is wonderful. And yes, much more enjoyable when we are not struggling so much to control what we can’t control!

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