Harry Potter and the Twelve Powers: Elimination/Release
Welcome back to our Summer Series. the 12 Powers and Harry Potter. I hope you are enjoying this series as much as I am, well, maybe at least a bit. We continue, this week, with the Power of Release or Elimination.
In The Enlightened Mind: Anthology of Sacred Prose, Stephen Mitchell relates this story, told by the Buddha:
“A man walking along a road sees a great river, its near bank dangerous and frightening, its far bank safe. He collects sticks and foliage, makes a raft, paddles across the river, and reaches the other shore. Now, suppose that, after he reaches the other shore, he takes the raft and puts it on his head and walks with it on his head wherever he goes. Would he be using the raft in an appropriate way? No. A reasonable man will realize that the raft has been very useful to him in crossing the river and arriving safely on the other shore, but that once he has arrived, it is proper to leave the raft behind and walk on without it. This is using the raft appropriately. In the same way, all truths should be used to cross over; they should not be held on to once you have arrived. You should let go of even the most profound insight on the most wholesome teaching; the more so, unwholesome teachings.”
“You should let go of even the most profound insight on the most wholesome teaching; all the more so, unwholesome teachings.” What are we holding on to? What rafts are we still carrying that no longer serve us? Recognizing that some rafts are what we deem “good stuff?” What is holding us back or weighing us down that we have not been willing to let go of? What old thoughts or old habits are taking up space in our lives that could be filled with fresh new ideas or actions?
In The Twelve Powers, Charles Fillmore taught, “There must be a renunciation or letting go of old thoughts before the new can find place in the consciousness. Living old thoughts over and over keeps the inlets of the new thought closed.”
In Luke 5:36, Jesus says: “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins”
Jesus’ is saying His new teachings representing the new wine. We are the old wineskins. We must release old thoughts and beliefs to receive the new teachings of love from Jesus, our Way-shower.
So how do we prepare ourselves for new wine? How do we release old patterns that no longer serve us? First, we need to recognize that they don’t. We need to realize that we’re carrying around rafts that we don’t need anymore. Or in thinking in today’s terms, we need to clear out our mail folders, clear the cookies, or lighten our load by emptying out our backpacks.
In coaching, these beliefs, these old ideas, are called structures of knowing. There are three criteria for discerning whether or not a structures of knowing is still serving you or not.
- If you use a structure of knowing to rationalize doing something you said you wouldn’t do.
- If you use a structure of knowing to rationalize not doing something you said you would do.
- If you use a structure of knowing to make someone else wrong.
If your current belief or story or opinion meets any of those criteria, it’s time to let it go. Dr. Williamson applies this similar prescription: We can release in a positive and freeing way by following these five steps – recognize it, face it, let it go, replace it with something better and healthier, and make restitution whenever and wherever possible.
Let it go. It sounds so easy doesn’t it? How do we let it go? By forgiving. Forgive ourselves and forgive others, not because it’s the “nice” thing to do, but because it’s the only thing that frees us from our attachment to that particular person or situation. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that we deny what happened or what was said. Forgiveness means that we’re willing to let go of what we’ve made it mean. We’re willing to let go of the power it has had over us… and move on.
While discussing some ideas from “A Course in Miricles” in class this week, we were reminded that every thought, event, action is a neutral thing until we place meaning to it.
If we keep the event or action neutral to us, there is no forgiveness required, no harm was done.
Release also means that we let go of stuff we deem “good” as we heard earlier in the raft story. We may love a job or a home or a person. And it may be time to move on, for our greater good and theirs.
This entails a lot of trust. Trust that God’s will is only for our happiness. We sometimes believe that our choice is to follow God’s will or to be happy, when the truth is that God’s will is only for our happiness. As Charles Fillmore once said, “We do not have a tricky God.” Perhaps that’s the biggest belief we need to release – that God wants anything other than our happiness.
The Harry Potter character representing Release are the Dementors.
Read The Prisoner of Azkaban, pages 83 – 85,
“Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them. Even Muggles feel their presence, though they can’t see them. Get too near a dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you. If it can, the dementor will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself…soul-less and evil. You’ll be left with nothing but the worst experiences of your life. “ – Professor Lupin to Harry
Based on Harry’s past, the Dementors had the ability to literally paralyze him, to suck the life right out of him. And, ultimately, it was his happy memories that saved him.
How to defend against a Dementor? You use the Expecto Patronus charm. It acts as a shield against the Dementor. “The Patronus is a kind of positive force, a projection of the very things that the dementor feeds upon – hope, happiness, the desire to survive…”
Harry’s Patronus was a stag, as was his Fathers.
I believe mine would be a hawk.
With the spell you must concentrate on a single very happy memory.
By drawing upon his recently created happy experiences, Harry was able to defeat the Dementors control over him. Harry didn’t deny that there were terrible events in his past. He just didn’t let them control him or his decisions. He chose to focus on the present and to let go of the past.
What beliefs, what fears, are holding you back? Is there something from your past that’s preventing you from moving forward? Are you willing to let it go? Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, a Zen master, teaches that: There is only one courage and that is the courage to go on dying to the past, not to collect it, not to accumulate it, not to cling to it. We all cling to the past, and because we cling to the past we become unavailable to the present.
Are you willing to become available to the present? Are you willing to look, see and tell the truth about rafts that need to be placed down and let go? Are you willing to go through your backpack and lighten your load? Are you willing to become a new wineskin, ready and excited to receive new ideas, new opportunities… a new life?