“Conflict cannot survive without your participation.” ~Wayne Dyer
Ways to Let Go
“If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace.” ~Ajahn Chah
Eckhart Tolle believes we create and maintain problems because they give us a sense of identity. Perhaps this explains why we often hold onto our pain far beyond its ability to serve us.
We replay past mistakes over and over again in our head, allowing feelings of shame and regret to shape our actions in the present. We cling to frustration and worry about the future, as if the act of fixation somehow gives us power. We hold stress in our minds and bodies, potentially creating serious health issues, and accept that state of tension as the norm.
Though it may sound simple, Ajahn Chah’s advice speaks volumes.
There will never be a time when life is simple. There will always be time to practice accepting that. Every moment is a chance to let go and feel peaceful. Here are some ways to get started:
Let Go Of Frustration with Yourself/Your Life
1. Learn a new skill instead of dwelling on the skills you never mastered.
2. Change your perception—see the root cause as a blessing in disguise.
3. Cry it out. According to Dr. William Frey II, PH.D., biochemist at the Ramsey Medical Center in Minneapolis, crying away your negative feelings releases harmful chemicals that build up in your body due to stress.
4. Channel your discontent into an immediate positive action—make some calls about new job opportunities, or walk to the community center to volunteer.
5. Use meditation or yoga to bring you into the present moment (instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future).
6. Make a list of your accomplishments—even the small ones— and add to it daily. You’ll have to let go of a little discontentment to make space for this self-satisfaction.
7. Visualize a box in your head labeled “Expectations.” Whenever you start dwelling on how things should be or should have been, mentally shelve the thoughts in this box.
8. Engage in a physical activity. Exercise decreases stress hormones and increases endorphins, chemicals that improve your state of mind.
9. Focus all your energy on something you can actually control instead of dwelling on things you can’t.
10. Express your feelings through a creative outlet, like blogging or painting. Add this to your to-do list and cross it off when you’re done. This will be a visual reminder that you have actively chosen to release these feelings.
Let go of Anger and Bitterness
11. Feel it fully. If you stifle your feelings, they may leak out and affect everyone around you—not just the person who inspired your anger. Before you can let go of any emotion, you have to feel it fully.
12. Give yourself a rant window. Let yourself vent for a day before confronting the person who troubled you. This may diffuse the hostility and give you time to plan a rational confrontation.
13. Remind yourself that anger hurts you more than the person who upset you, and visualize it melting away as an act of kindness to yourself.
14. If possible, express your anger to the person who offended you. Communicating how you feel may help you move on. Keep in mind that you can’t control how the offender responds; you can only control how clearly and kindly you express yourself.
15. Take responsibility. Many times when you’re angry, you focus on what someone else did that was wrong, which essentially gives away your power. When you focus on what you could have done better, you often feel empowered and less bitter.
16. Put yourself in the offender’s shoes. We all make mistakes, and odds are you could have easily slipped up just like your husband, father, or friend did. Compassion dissolves anger.
17. Metaphorically throw it away. For example, jog with a backpack full of tennis balls. After you’ve built up a bit of rush, toss the balls one by one, labeling each as a part of your anger. (You’ll need to retrieve these—litter angers the earth!)
18. Use a stress ball, and express your anger physically and vocally when you use it. Make a scrunched up face or grunt. You may feel silly, but this allows you to actually express what you’re feeling inside.
19. Wear a rubber band on your wrist and gently flick it when you start obsessing on angry thoughts. This trains your mind to associate that type of persistent negativity with something unpleasant.
20. Remind yourself these are your only three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it. These acts create happiness; holding onto bitterness never does.
Let Go Of Past Relationships
21. Identify what the experience taught you to help develop a sense of closure.
22. Write everything you want to express in a letter. Even if you choose not to send it, clarifying your feelings will help you come to terms with reality as it is now.
23. Remember both the good and the bad. Even if appears this way now, the past was not perfect. Acknowledging this may minimize your sense of loss. As Laura Oliver says, “It’s easier to let go of a human than a hero.”
24. Un-romanticize the way you view love. Of course you’ll feel devastated if you believe you lost your soul mate. If you think you can find a love that amazing or better again, it will be easier to move on.
25. Visualize an empowered single you—the person you were before meeting your last love. That person was pretty awesome, and now you have the chance to be him or her again.
26. Create a space that reflects your present reality. Take down his pictures; delete her emails from your saved folder.
27. Reward yourself for small acts of acceptance. Get a facial after you delete his number from your phone, or head out with friends after putting all her things in a box.
28. Hang this statement somewhere you can see it. “Loving myself means letting go.”
29. Replace your emotional thoughts with facts. When you think, “I’ll never feel loved again!” don’t resist that feeling. Instead, move on to another thought, like “I learned a new song for karaoke tonight.”
30. Use the silly voice technique. According to Russ Harris, author of The Happiness Trap, swapping the voice in your head with a cartoon voice will help take back power from the troubling thought.
Let Go Of Stress
31. Use a deep breathing technique, like ujayii, to soothe yourself and seep into the present moment.
32. Immerse yourself in a group activity. Enjoying the people in your life may help put your problems in perspective.
33. Consider this quotation by Eckhart Tolle: “Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose.” Questioning how your stress serves you may help you let it go.
34. Metaphorically release it. Write down all your stresses and toss the paper into your fireplace.
35. Replace your thoughts. Notice when you begin thinking about something that stresses you so you can shift your thought process to something more pleasant, like your passion for your hobby.
36. Take a sauna break. Studies reveal that people who go to sauna at least twice a week for ten to thirty minutes are less stressed after work than others with similar jobs who don’t.
37. Imagine your life ten years from now. Then look twenty years into the future, and then thirty. Realize that many of the things you’re worrying about don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.
38. Organize your desk. According to Georgia Witkin, assistant director of psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, completing a small task increases your sense of control and decreases your stress level.
39. Use it up. Make two lists: one with the root causes of your stress and one with actions to address them. As you complete these tasks, visualize yourself utilizing and depleting your “stress supply.”
40. Laugh it out. Research shows that laughter soothes tension, improves your immune system, and even eases pain. If you can’t relax for long, start with just ten minutes watching a funny video on YouTube.
It’s a long list, but there’s much left to be said! Can you think of anything to add to this list—other areas of life where we need to practice letting go, and other techniques to start doing it right now?
Let it Be
Let it Go
Forgiveness: Of Others, From Others, To Yourself
Loneliness- Letting go of the Lonely Thorn
The spiritual journey is one of constant transformation.
In order to grow, you must give up the struggle to remain the same, and learn to embrace change at all times. One of the most important areas requiring change is how we solve our personal problems.
We normally attempt to solve our inner disturbances by protecting ourselves. Real transformation begins when you embrace your problems as agents for growth. In order to understand how this process works, let’s examine the following situation.
Imagine that you have a thorn in your arm that directly touches a nerve. When the thorn is touched, it’s very painful. Because it hurts so much, the thorn is a serious problem. It’s difficult to sleep because you roll over on it. It’s hard to get close to people because they might touch it. It makes your daily life very difficult. You can’t even go for a walk in the woods because you might brush the thorn against the branches. This thorn is a constant source of disturbance, and to solve the problem you only have two choices.
- Protect it: The first choice is to look at your situation and decide that since it’s so disturbing when things touch the thorn, you need to protect it to make sure nothing touches it.
- Remove it: The second choice is to decide that since it’s so disturbing when things touch the thorn, you need to remove it by taking it out take it out.
The first choice- Protect It
The truth is, now the thorn completely runs your entire life. It affects all your decisions, including where you go, whom you’re comfortable with, and who’s comfortable with you. It determines where you’re allowed to work, what house you can live in, and what kind of bed you can sleep on at night. When it’s all said and done, that thorn s running every aspect of your life.
You end up so psychologically fixated on the problem that you can’t see the forest for the trees. You actually feel that because you’ve minimized the pain of the problem, you’ve solved the problem. But it is not solved. All you did was devote your life to avoiding it. It is now the center of your universe. It’s all there is.
Example- The Thorn of Loneliness:
In order to apply the analogy of the thorn to your whole life, we will use loneliness as an example. Let’s say you have a very deep sense of inner loneliness. It’s so deep that you have trouble sleeping at night, and during the day it makes you very sensitive.
You’re susceptible to feeling sharp pangs in your heart that cause quite a disturbance. You have trouble staying focused on your job, and you have trouble with everyday interactions. What’s more, when you’re very lonely it’s often painfully difficult to get close to people.
You see, loneliness is just like the thorn. It causes pain and disturbance in all aspects of your life. But in the case of the human heart, we have more than one thorn. We have sensitivities about loneliness, about rejection, about our physical appearance, and about our mental prowess.
We are walking around with lots of thorns touching right against the most sensitive part of our hearts. At any moment something can touch them and cause pain inside.
You have the same two choices with these inner thorns as you did with the thorn in your arm.
- Protect it
- Remove it
Surely it was obvious that you would have been much better off by removing the loneliness thorn. There’s no reason to spend your life protecting the thorn from getting touched when you can just remove it. Once the thorn is removed, you are truly free of it.
The same is true with your inner thorns; they can be removed.
But if you choose to protect them without being disturbed by them, you must modify your life to avoid the situations that would stir them up. If you’re lonely, you must avoid going to places where couples tend to be. If you’re afraid of rejection, you must avoid getting too close to people. You are attempting to adjust your life to make allowance for your thorns. In the earlier example the thorns were outside. Now they are inside.
When you’re lonely, you find yourself pondering what to do about your loneliness.
- What is it that you can say or do in order to not feel so lonely?
Notice that you aren’t asking how to get rid of the problem; you’re asking how to protect yourself from feeling it. You do this either avoiding situations or by using people, places, and things as protective shields. You’re going to end up just like the person with the thorn.
The loneliness will run tour entire life. You’ll marry the person who makes you feel less lonely, and you’ll think that’s natural and normal. But it’s exactly the same as the person who is avoiding the pain of the thorn instead of taking it out.
You have not removed the root of loneliness. You have only attempted to protect yourself from feeling it. Should someone die or leave you, the loneliness would again disturb you. The problem will be back the moment the external situation fails to protect you from what’s inside.
If you do not remove the thorn, you will end up responsible for both the thorn and everything you pulled around yourself in an attempt to protect/avoid it. Should you be fortunate enough to find someone who manages to diminish the feeling of loneliness, you will then begin worrying about keeping your relationship with this person. You’ve managed to compound the issue by avoiding the problem.
This is exactly the same as using the apparatus to compensate for the thorn; you have to adjust your life accordingly. The minute you allow the core problem to stay, it expands out into multiple problems. It wouldn’t dawn on you to just get rid of it. Instead, the only solution you see is to try to avoid feeling it. Now you have no choice but to go out and fix everything that affects it.
You have to worry about how you dress and how you talk. You have to worry about what people think of you because that could affect your feeling of loneliness or need for love. If someone is attracted to you, and this eases your feelings of loneliness, you wish you could say, “How do I need to act in order to please you? I can be any way you want. I just don’t want to feel these periods of loneliness anymore.”
You now have this burden of worrying about the relationship. It creates an experience of underlying tension and discomfort, and it can even affect your sleep at night. The truth is, however, the discomfort you’re experiencing isn’t actually the feeling of loneliness. It’s the never-ending thoughts of “Did I say the right thing? Does she really like me, or am I just kidding myself?”
The root problem is now buried under all these shallower issues that are all about avoiding the deeper ones. It all gets very complicated. People end up using their relationships to hide their thorns. If you care for each other, you are expected to adjust your behavior to avoid bumping into each other’s soft spots.
This is what people do. They let the fear of their inner thorns affect their behavior. They end up limiting their lives just like someone living with an external thorn. Ultimately, if there is something disturbing inside of you, you have to make a choice. You can compensate for the disturbance by going outside in an attempt to avoid feeling it, or you can simply remove the thorn and not focus your life around it.
Letting go of Loneliness
Do not doubt your ability to remove the root cause of the disturbance inside of you. It really can go away. You can look deep within yourself, to the core of your being, and decide that you don’t want the weakest part of you running your life. You want to be free of this. You want to talk to people because you find them interesting, not because you’re lonely. You want to have relationships with people because you genuinely like them, not because you need for them to like you. You want to love because you truly love, not because you need to avoid your inner problems.
How do you free yourself? In the deepest sense, you free yourself by finding yourself. You are not the pain you feel, nor are you the part that periodically stresses out. None of these disturbances have anything to do with you. You are the one who notices these things. Because your consciousness is separate and aware of these things, you can free yourself.
To free yourself of your inner thorns, you simply stop playing with them. The more you touch them, the more you irritate them. Because you’re always doing something to avoid feeling them, they are not given the chance to naturally work themselves out.
If you want, you can simply permit the disturbances to come up, and you can let them go. Since your inner thorns are simply blocked energies from the past, they can be released. The problem is, you either completely avoid situations that would cause them to release, or you push them back down in the name of protecting yourself.
Suppose you’re sitting at home watching TV. You’re enjoying the program until the two main characters fall in love. Suddenly you feel loneliness, but there’s no one around to give you attention. Interestingly, you were fine just a few minutes ago.
This example shows that the thorn is always in your heart; it’s just not activated until something touches it. You feel the reaction as a hollowness or a dropping sensation in your heart. It feels very uncomfortable. A sense of weakness comes over you, and you begin thinking about other times when you were left alone and of people who have hurt you. Stored energy from the past releases from the heart and generates thoughts. Now, instead of enjoying TV, you’re sitting alone caught in a wave of thoughts and emotions.
What can you do to solve this besides eating something, calling somebody, or doing something else that might quiet it down? What you can do is notice that you noticed. You can notice that your consciousness was watching TV, and now it is watching your inner melodrama.
The one who sees this is you, the subject. What you are looking at is an object. A feeling of emptiness is an object; it is something you feel. But who feels it? Your way out is to just notice who’s noticing. It’s really that simple. It is much less complex than the protective apparatus with all its ball bearings, wheels, and hydraulics. All you have to do is notice who it is that feels the loneliness. The one who notices is already free. If you want to be free of these energies, you must allow them to pass through you instead of hiding them inside of you.
Ever since you were a child, you’ve had energies going on inside. Wake up and realize that you are in there, and you have a sensitive person in there with you. Simply watch that sensitive part of you feel disturbance. See it feel jealousy, need, and fear. These feelings are just part of the nature of a human being. If you pay attention, you will see that they are not you; they are just something you’re feeling and experiencing. You are the indwelling being that is aware of all of this. If you maintain your center, you can learn to appreciate and respect even the difficult experiences.
For example, some of the most beautiful poetry and music have come from people who were in turmoil. Great art comes from the depth of one’s being. You can experience these very human states without getting lost in them or resisting them.
You can notice that you notice and just watch how experiencing loneliness affects you.
- Does your posture change?
- Do you breathe slower or faster?
- What goes on when loneliness is given the space it needs to pass through you?
- Be an explorer. Witness it, and then it will go. If you don’t get absorbed in it, the experience will soon pass and something else will come up. Just enjoy all of it.
If you can do this, you will be free, and a world of pure energy will open up within you.
The more you sit in the Self, the more you will begin to feel an energy that you have never experienced before. It comes up from behind, rather than in front where you experience your mind and emotions. When you are no longer absorbed in your melodrama but, instead, sit comfortably deep inside the seat of awareness, you will start to feel this flow of energy coming up from deep within.
This flow has been called Shakti. This flow has been called Spirit. This is what you begin to experience if you hang out with the Self instead of hanging out with inner disturbances. You don’t have to get rid of loneliness; you just cease to be involved with it. It’s just another thing in the universe, like cars, grass, and the stars. It’s none of your business.
Just let things go.
That’s what the Self does. Awareness does not fight; awareness releases. Awareness is simply aware while everything in the universe parades before it.
If you sit within the Self, you will experience the strength of your inner being even when your heart feels weak. This is the essence of the path. This is the essence of a spiritual life. Once you learn that it’s okay to feel inner disturbances, and that they can no longer disturb your seat of consciousness, you will be free.
As continue letting go of loneliness, you will begin to be sustained by the inner energy flow that comes from behind you. When you have tasted the ecstasy of the inner flow, you can walk in this world and the world will never touch you.
That’s how you become a free being—you transcend.
Source- The Untethered
Adapted by G Ross Clark