Some words don’t translate well into English. Gelassenheit is one of them. This German word means ‘to let be’, ‘to allow’, ‘abandonment’ or ‘serenity. And the more academic meaning of the word is ‘releasement’ – the act of releasing or letting go. It was first popularized by the thirteenth century German Christian mystic Meister Eckhart.
Eckhart was controversial in his day with his ideas around God – not least that most human concepts of God tell us more about ourselves than God. On top of that, he was advocate of the ‘wayless way’. That is, if you follow a particular way or path, you end up with the trappings of that way and nothing more. He argued that we need to strip away all notions of following a way and instead be serene or in Gelassenheit.
This means constantly ‘letting go’ of ideas and notions and turning to an inner stillness and calm. Some have added that the beauty of nature helps release the caged mind, so spending time observing nature can help bring us to that inner calmness. But in any case, the idea is to be in Gelassenheit as much as possible – just let go, and trust that you will reach that inner calm.