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 to 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, MD, PhD,
Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender
Years ago, when I finally stopped anesthetizing my feelings on a daily basis, I noticed there was a three- to five-day gap between an emotion being triggered in my body and me becoming aware of it. Literally. It had been so long since I’d let myself feel anything that it was like learning a new language.
As I learned the language and the gap between trigger and feeling lessened, I was left with the feelings themselves, and an idea that I was at their mercy. As if I had to change them, get rid of them, understand them, fix them, take care of them, express them, blame them on something or someone, and on and on. I sometimes ended up smashing things in my apartment, throwing things or having things thrown at me, yelling, screaming, wailing. So much drama. It never occurred to me that I could just let them move through me.
As I meditated and began to see myself more and more as spirit having a human experience, rather than the other way around, I became aware of this body and mind in more subtle ways. I began to learn:
- that feelings are simply energies that are meant to flow through this body. Yes, they give us information, but only of a passing moment, not of the whole of my life or myself;
- that when I allow the flow of these energies I see that each feeling has a beginning, a middle and an end;
- that the stories I tell myself about these feelings are mostly made up;
- that trying to ‘understand’ my feelings before letting them go stops the flow of life in me and keeps me in discomfort far longer than is necessary;
- that feelings are far more like a spice than a main course. They lend flavor to a given day, a given experience, but they are not sustenance.
Life can be very uncomfortable sometimes. But it also can be joyful beyond measure. Becoming willing to experience the discomfort allows us to be present enough and alive enough to experience the joy.
Today I will check in with the way it feels to be in my body, and I will let myself experience this as sensation, rather than as storyline. I will take a breath and open myself back out to the world with a sense of possibility.