Letting Go

Letting Go

“To let go does not mean to get rid of.
To let go means to let be.

When we let be with compassion,

things come and go on their own.”

Jack Kornfield

Letting go is perhaps the entire journey for many in this lifetime.  Someone once said that we spend the first half of our lives learning things, and the second half of our lives unlearning them, and there is tremendous truth within that. 

Most of the great spiritual traditions and philosophies talking about a version of letting go of attachments. The reality of that is that we pick up a lot of attachments or “stuff” as I like to call it along our respective timelines, and as we’re not given a manual for this thing called life that we’re all involved in, then some of that “stuff” gets stuck in our system and prevents our well-being flowing as well as it might. Whether that “stuff” is part of our belief system, behavioural patterns, repeating thoughts or most poignantly of all our emotional responses, it’s all “stuff” and it tends not to do us good when we hold on to it. Most likely it is all some sort of mish-mash of all of the above, as it’s all our life baggage, and what Eckhart Tolle would call “all that which makes up our identity.” 

Here in the 21st century, we also tend to pick up a lot of material stuff to add to that, and however much or little stuff we have, then we tend to attach value, and consequently some of our beliefs/emotions etc to that physical stuff. It’s one of the reasons why regular clutter clearing can be so helpful and energising.

I thought I was pretty good with “material stuff” and until I came to move house recently, and discovered that I had a little bit more physical stuff to pack than I expected. My particular “guilty secret” was packing boxes. I had an over-abundance of them buried in my garage for crystals/crystal bowls et al. All very practical and forward thinking, some might say, but there were too many of them, some were useless because of the damp in my garage, and many and much had to go…and that was a process! 

Letting Go

And that’s the thing about “physical stuff”. You can push it out of your mind if you can’t see it (into the garage or a cupboard or a drawer) and let it do whatever it’s doing there. At some point, though, you’re going to have to deal with it.

“Physical stuff” is of course symbolic for everyone, as you are your possessions, and just as things get pushed into cupboards and garages, they also get pushed into the recess of your subconscious minds. We attached value to “material stuff” even if it’s just boxes and so we hold on as a result. 

Many humans have that natural tendency to try and avoid dealing 
with our “stuff”, and especially our emotions. The author David Hawkins says we have four main “strategies” for not dealing with our emotions and our “stuff”, and I’d add to that that most people are usually quite well practiced in these strategies. 

Suppressing – Consciously pushing them away 

Repressing – Unconsciously pushing them away

Escape – seeking drink/drugs/food/tv etc to push them away

Expression – or rather excessive expression 

None of these are helpful in the process of letting go and our onward journey. In order to let go, you need to have awareness of what it is that you need to let go of and to be fully present to it, and especially so if it’s an emotion. Easier said than done in some cases, though always achievable. You could call it mindfulness, though being able to truly let go involves feeling the depth and truth of any emotion that has been previously avoided. 

I’ve usually favoured regression therapy as a way of letting go as it helps people get to the core of the issue, and then facilitated the letting go. However, I know there are many solutions for letting go (I practise more of them myself), however remember whatever therapy/practitioner/concept you might embrace on your journey of letting go, remember that one that involves avoidance of the “stuff’ is unlikely to be helpful for you. It’s also useful to remember that the letting go is not a mind-based intellectualising” thing. It’s invariably the emotions that need to be let go, and as they’re felt in the body then the body needs to be part of the letting go process.  Then the mind, and everything else, benefits as a result. 

Happy letting go!!

Love & blessings