Although Yeshua Ben Yosef’s 40 days in the desert is used as the template for our Lenten practice, we should recall that he used his 40 days as preparation for his ministry. For him, it wasn’t about giving up ice cream or gossip, he was doing a deep spiritual work. Jesus was creating bedrock for his ministry, getting clear on what he stood for, looking his potential weaknesses in the eye and choosing to rise above them. It was about getting teeth in his faith, it was about getting clear on what he knew to be true, and releasing anything that would prevent him from expressing as his full God-Self.
I believe that we are called to the same depth of introspection during Lent.
I believe that we are invited to enter that still quiet place within, our inner sanctuary, with full humility and a willingness to entertain the question - what are we to let go of?
While I can’t answer that question for you, I can perhaps, point the way. I think the most important thing to let go of is that which makes us feel and act small. That which stops us from being authentic or vulnerable.
That which makes us look away. That which causes us to be arrogant. That which would cause us to betray who we are, or what we stand for, or betray a friend.
That which lets us turn a blind eye to injustice, or tell a lie. That which allows us to let ourselves down, again and again. That which keeps us from keeping our word. That which limits our compassion. That which stops us welcoming the stranger, or coming to the aid of someone who is being harassed.
That which stops us from having a healthy boundary. That which closes our ears and squeezes our hearts so that we don’t truly listen to one another. That which stops us from putting down an old story that no longer serves us.
That which would stop us from taking honest stock of who we are and what we stand for. That which stops us from being all that we can be.
That which stops us from following the charge of Jeshua ben Joseph: to know the Truth of ourselves and to live that Truth, to be in integrity, to love one another and to act like it, to be authentic, to hold ourselves to the highest standard. It is likely the same thing underlying all that stops us from shining our full and brightest light - fear - that is the most important thing to let go.
For it is in releasing fear that we will come to know ourselves truly as children of God, as emanations of the Most High, as divine expressions of the One Life. We will come to know ourselves as Love.