The following excerpt is from Living Meditation, Living Insight: The Path of Mindfulness in Daily Life by Burmese Budddhist teacher Dr. Thynn Thynn.
Why is “letting go” so important in Buddhism?
Thynn: The term “letting go” has become a catchword in Buddhist circles. It is true that “letting go” is crucial for arriving at self-realization of inner freedom, but you have to understand how to let go.
What are we supposed to let go of?
Let go of your clinging. Let go of the motivating desire behind whatever you’re doing. It may be a desire to succeed, to be perfect, to control others or to glorify yourself. It doesn’t matter what it is specifically; what matters is the desire behind your act. It is easy to mistake the act for the desire.
To let go is to let go of clinging to desire,
not to let go of the act.
We have been talking about stopping and looking at emotions. Try to stop and look at an act; see if you can identify the desire propelling it. When you see the desire, you can also detect the clinging to the desire. When you see the clinging, you see it resolve and you spontaneously let go.
To read the entire interview and here a great "Zen song" by folksinger Chris Smither, go here: