The Mechanism of Letting Go

Everyone advises letting go but no one precisely tells how to let go. One of the best instructions I have come across for letting go is from David Hawkins. It goes as follows

Letting go involves being aware of a feeling, letting it come up, staying with it and letting it run its course without wanting to make it different or do anything about it. It means simply to let the feeling be there and focus on letting out the energy behind it. The first step is to allow yourself to have the feeling without resisting it, venting it, fearing it, condemning it or moralizing about it. It means to drop judgment and to see that it is just a feeling. The technique is to be with the feeling and surrender all efforts to modify it in any way. Let go of wanting to resist the feeling. It is resistance that keeps the feeling going. When you give up resisting, or trying to modify the feeling , it will shift to the next feeling and be accompanied by a lighter sensation. A feeling that is not resisted will disappear as the energy behind it dissipates.

David Hawkins

That’s all there is to letting go. Most people are unable to let go because they are caught up in the thoughts of letting go. But realize one thing very clearly that thoughts, feelings and sensations are one body. They are not separate. When there is a thought, there is also feeling and also sensation.

Most people talk about letting go of attachments. You can let go of attachments only in the moment the attachment arises, not at any other time. Same is the case of letting go of fears.

Supposing you are afraid of dogs and you want to get over the fear of dogs. If you are at your home, you cannot do anything to get over the fear of dogs. There is no dog around so there is no fear. The fear arises when there is a dog around. And that is the time, the only time, you can deal with the fear and let go of it. If you are attentive, you will see the fear arising and the feeling take over you. That is the time you need to follow the instructions on letting go as described above. Allow the feeling of fear to arise, to stay and to subside. If you are watching it in the moment without resisting or without following your usual habitual reactions to the dog, then that feeling will come, arise, stay and disappear. If you have done this (allowed this to happen) then you will notice that you do not have the same intensity of fear the next time you are around a dog. Because you do not allow the fear to arise in the first place, because you resist that feeling the instant it arises, you are unable to let go of that completely. Instead, it becomes stronger and stronger.

This is true of any other fear or attachment. If you want to break the habit of smoking for example, then you have to deal with it when the urge to smoke arises. No amount of thinking or talking to yourself will get you to stop smoking. The only thing you can do in the time when that feeling is not there is to develop awareness or mindfulness. When you are developing your awareness, then that awareness helps you when the real fear or the urge arises.

Most of our feelings are learnt by the automatic nervous system in a state when we were not aware, like in early childhood or when we did not know the words for certain things. These become automatic reactions hard wired in our system. The continuous practice of letting go can help us to become free step by step. As you become more and more aware, you become more sensitive to the feelings arising within your body, you are more aware to the sensations in your body and the movement of your thought. It becomes easier to let go.

Awareness is the master key.  

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