Key Points of Letting Go

“Let go a little, you’ll have a little happiness. Let go completely, you’ll be completely happy.”

Letting Go of Body Sensations

  • Ordinary breathing, focusing on exhalation, intending to let go.
  • Diaphragm breathing.
  • Breath of fire .
  • Heartmath : Breathing evenly through the heart with a positive emotion.
  • Scanning the body and releasing tension. Progressive relaxation .
  • Using imagery to relax.

Letting Go of Thoughts

  • Two fundamental errors of thought:

• Overestimating the bad.
• Underestimating the good.

  • Systematically argue against errors of thought , on paper or in your mind.
  • Identify “sub-personalities” generating errors of thought; thank them for sharing, ask if they have anything new to say, and then tell them to shut up.

Letting Go of Emotions

  • As with any unpleasant experience, have compassion for yourself .
  • As you release negative emotions, sense positive feelings replacing them, like security replacing fear, worth replacing shame/guilt, peacefulness replacing anger.
  • Name the feeling, own it, and accept it. For bonus points, try to choose it.
  • Imagine/sense the emotion leaving on the exhalation, or draining out of the body, or being released to the universe or even to God/the mysterious Divine.
  • Use imagery, like standing in a cool mountain stream washing pain away.
  • Sense the underlying softer, deeper, younger feelings, and then let them go.
  • Venting safely, like writing letters you don’t send, yelling, hitting something SAFE.

Letting Go of Wants

  • Same methods as with releasing emotions: Naming and accepting. Draining out of the body.
  • Releasing via imagery. Sense the underlying, positive wants, and respond to them.
  • Do a cost/benefit analysis, and choose what you really want.
  • Reflect on the suffering that is embedded, that’s inevitable, in most desires.

Letting Go of Self

  • Perspectives: The more we “self” experience – personalize it, identify with it, cling to it – the more we suffer: “no self, no problem.” The degree of self varies; it’s not an omnipresent fact; it’s continually constructed. When self is minimal or absent, notice that it’s not needed to function in life.
  • Observe the activity of self and experiment with reducing it.
  • When others are upset, see the ways it’s not about you: They’re on automatic; you’re a bit player in their drama; they are already punishing themselves; you are separate, with good boundaries.
  • Each day, take time to sense the fact of your interconnectedness with everything.

In General

  • Be the awareness of the experience, not the experience itself.
  • Notice that all experiences change.
  • Keep evoking positive feelings .

• • • • •

What practices have YOU found to be effective for letting go? I’d enjoy hearing from you in the comments section.

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Shared by: Rick Hanson, Ph.D, Contributing Blogger