The last word came from the audience. Having spent much of the seminar looking at why it is so difficult for us to let go – of words, thoughts, feelings, relationships, habits, etc. – we turned our attention to the advantages of releasing ourselves from whatever does not serve us: relief, freedom, space for new things, and the achievement itself of letting go. It was then that the question came: Is some kind of healing possible? Yes. Absolutely. We can heal ourselves by releasing whatever we’ve been carrying; especially when there was never any need to carry it in the first place.
It was a quietly intense seminar. Intense because it dealt with one of the most confrontational aspects of personal development. We are often so invested in who we are and what we believe (about ourselves and the world), that even just the thought of letting go of any of it feels challenging. This is not uncommon, and it helps to explain why it can be so difficult sometimes.
It also has to do with how easily we attach ourselves to things. I read, for example, from the post, ‘Let Go’ (p.117), in which Karaj made it clear to me that all the project work we had completed over the previous 6 weeks…
‘…means nothing. It was a challenge to us both; we both grew during our work and are better people as a result of what we have done; but to be attached to our achievements would be to waste our energy.’
In order to explain my point, I offered this line from the post, ‘Exploration, Expectation and Non-Attachment’ (p.95):
‘Non-attachment means giving everything we have, being fully focused, fully committed, doing our utmost to ensure an appropriate outcome, but not being affected by what happens. ’
Following a question about whether people actually know what they want, I explained that although we may not realise, we do know what we want, but it is so often buried beneath all the advice and injunctions we have received – and taken on – from others. Once we release ourselves from these imposed and limiting beliefs, we reveal the dreams and desires which were there all along.
Another reason why it is difficult to let go is that we have been holding on to things for so long that we either cannot envisage a world without them, or, having invested so much of who we are in our beliefs, we feel we have to hang on to them because to relinquish them would render too much of our life meaningless. It takes faith, (self-)belief, and trust in the process, not to mention support from those close to us. It also helps to switch from automatic pilot to manual control – which itself requires some awareness – in order to see ourselves more clearly.
From there, it is a case of doing whatever is necessary to make it as easy as possible for us to practise letting go. The more we practise, the more we are likely to progress. (A recent post, ‘Letting Go On The Bridge’, offers an example of how we can also use regular experiences to remind us to practise.) So take your time, look out each day for chances to practise, and begin letting go of whatever you no longer wish to carry with you.
Here are a few entries from the book which help to explain the struggle involved, but also the rewards which await us when we let go:
p.47 ‘She described how, if she simply let go, the breathing would take care of itself.’
p.48 ‘She finds it hard to relax and be waited on; to let go and leave us to cope.’
p.101 ‘Let go, relax, and things will happen.’
p.162 ‘Unless you let go, you will not see your conditioning/script.’
p.223 ‘He is setting himself up to fail because he cannot let go and allow himself to be helped.’
p.238 ‘…with all that was going on with the workshop, I was able to let go and everything worked out wonderfully. I was calmer, more comfortable, more entertaining, and more eloquent than I ever imagined I could be.’
p.254 ‘I am struggling to let go of the old me, but until I do I cannot embrace the new me. I had thoughts about whether I even want to.’
p.335 ‘Tonight has also added more strength to the need to let go and get things out. Verbalise. Release.’
p.338 ‘I let go of my perfectionism in order to get the job done as speedily as possible.’
p.354 ‘Let go and be wherever I am, now.’
p.394 ‘After years of not allowing myself to dream, I began to let go of my restrictions and talk about what I wanted to do with myself and my life.’
p.448 ‘But he never truly surrendered to the work we were doing. He undoubtedly benefitted, yet there were times when it was clearly difficult for him to let go; as if abandoning his intellect – even if only momentarily – could not possibly have any advantages.’
p.548 ‘I need to wake up to how good I am, start seeing the qualities which others see in me and accept their affirmations when given. Connected to this is my reluctance to let go and indulge in the moment, have fun, and express myself. I stop myself because I think I am not good enough, but when I eventually get involved I see that I am.’
p.551 ‘There comes a point when we have to let go and trust the whole process.’
00:40 – Balance – some irritating aspects still have their uses.
02:20 – Fear of the unknown requires some trust that things will be okay.
05:15 – Be fully with whatever you’re doing; but remain unattached.
08:35 – Do people know what they want? (Clearing away other people’s injunctions.)
13:11 – Practise letting go. (Re-)condition yourself.
14:47 – Switching from automatic pilot to manual in order to see yourself more clearly.
16:04 – Trust in yourself, the process & your support network. Make it easy for yourself.
17:11 – We hang on tighter and tighter as time goes by. (Aesop’s The Wind & The Sun.)
20:19 – Allow things to fall away naturally (through awareness).