How does letting go actually work?

The short answer is that it happens in several ways which I will describe in ‘The Power of Letting Go’. (Jacq Burns has been editing it.) In the meantime, here is a particularly interesting technique which anyone can use. David R. Hawkins M.D., Ph.D. (see photo) was a psychiatrist who wrote ‘Letting Go – the Pathway of Surrender’, published by Hay House. Chapter 2 is called ‘The Mechanism of Letting Go’, in which he says:

* “It is not thoughts or facts that are painful but the feelings that accompany them.”
* “It is the accumulated pressure of feelings that causes thoughts.” (One feeling can cause thousands of thoughts.)
* “Therefore, when we relinquish or let go of a feeling, we are freeing ourselves from all the associated thoughts.”

He then goes on to describe how most of us handle feelings, through suppression, repression and escape. None of them solves the underlying problem. Here is his solution:

“The technique is to be with the feeling and surrender all efforts to modify it in any way.” “A feeling that is not resisted will disappear as the energy behind it dissipates.”

As usual, I have been experimenting on myself. I have noticed that, if I am feeling unhappy about something that has happened – or not happened – I usually respond in one of two ways: (a) I suppress the feeling and try to focus on something positive; (b) I try to escape the feeling by taking lots of action. That includes taking action to try to address what I perceive to be the external cause of the unhappiness. The problem is that I still feel bad inside, which generates lots of unhelpful thoughts.
Whenever I notice what is happening, I stop, sit down, close my eyes and feel the feeling, without judging it, labelling it, or trying to do anything else about it. I simply feel it for as long as it takes, which is often a minute or two, but could be longer in some cases.

Afterwards, I usually feel lighter. There are fewer thoughts, particularly negative ones. Sometimes I have ideas about new possibilities. I feel a lot better.

I encourage you to try this for yourself. All comments / feedback welcome.

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7 Comments » for How does letting go actually work?
  1. Dan Belloso says:

    I see the need to letting go in our extremely hectic lifestyles. I see that at work, society and even geopolitics. This powerful concept may not be new but is particularly needed nowadays. Stop and letting go may be a good way to progress.

  2. Conor Neill says:

    Just read the book! was searching for some more material online, and your blog popped up. Great to read, thanks for sharing.

  3. Aaron Keeney says:

    I have read the book & used the techniques myself. What I don’t understand is he talks about people surrendering to the sensations of bad symptoms & they eventually went away, but how does that work with positive good sensations or things? If I surrender to the feeling of health or strong muscles does it go away? If not why not?

    • John Purkiss says:

      Hello Aaron – David Hawkins is no longer ‘in the body’, so we can’t ask him. However, my understanding is that we should let all sensations pass through us unhindered. It’s unhelpful to cling to the sensation of good health or strong muscles. We can then keep doing what’s required to remain healthy and strong.

  4. Zaks says:

    Does anyone know of a practioner in the tri state area that practices the surrender / letting go methodology?

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