Letting Go describes a simple and effective means by which to let go of the obstacles to Enlightenment and become free of negativity. During the many decades of the author’s clinical psychiatric practice, the primary aim was to seek the most effective ways to relieve human suffering in all of its many forms. The inner mechanism of surrender was found to be of great practical benefit and is described in this book.
What is it?
Letting go is like the sudden cessation of an inner pressure or the dropping of a weight. It is accompanied by a sudden feeling of relief and lightness, with an increased happiness and freedom. It is an actual mechanism of the mind, and everyone has experienced it on occasion.
A good example is the following. You are in the midst of an intense argument; you are angry and upset, when suddenly the whole thing strikes you as absurd and ridiculous. You start to laugh. The pressure is relieved. You come up from anger, fear, and feeling attacked to feeling suddenly free and happy. Think how great it would be if you could do that all of the time, in any place, and with any event. You could always feel free and happy and never be cornered by your feelings again.
That’s what this technique is all about: letting go consciously and frequently at will. You are then in charge of how you feel, and you are no longer at the mercy of the world and your reactions to it. You are no longer the victim. This is employing the basic teaching of the Buddha, which removes the pressure of involuntary reactivity. We carry around with us a huge reservoir of accumulated negative feelings, attitudes, and beliefs. The accumulated pressure makes us miserable and is the basis of many of our illnesses and problems. We are resigned to it and explain it away as the “human condition.” We seek to escape from it in myriad ways. The average human life is spent trying to avoid and run from the inner turmoil of fear and the threat of misery. Everyone’s self-esteem is constantly threatened both from within and without.
The Mechanism Of Letting Go
Letting go involves being aware of a feeling, letting it come up, staying with it, and letting it run its course without wanting to make it different or do anything about it. It means simply to let the feelings be there and to focus on letting out the energy behind it.
The first step is to allow yourself to have the feelings without resisting it, venting it, fearing it, condemning it, or moralizing about it. It means to drop judgment and to see that it is just a feeling. The technique is to be with the feeling and surrender all efforts to modify it in any way. Let go of wanting to resist the feeling. It is resistance that keeps the feeling going. When you give up resisting or trying to modify the feeling, it will shift to the next feeling and be accompanied by a lighter sensation. A feeling that is not resisted will disappear as the energy behind it dissipates.
As you begin the process, you will notice that you have fear and guilt over having feelings; there will be resistance to feelings in general. To let feelings come up, it is easier to let go of the reaction to having the feelings come up, it is easier to let go of the reaction to having the feelings in the first place.
When letting go, ignore all thoughts. Focus on the feeling itself, not on the thoughts. Thoughts are endless and self-reinforcing, and they only breed more thoughts.
To be surrendered means to have no strong emotion about a thing. When we are free, there is a letting go of attachments. We can enjoy a thing, but we don’t need it for our happiness. Sometimes we surrender a feeling and we notice that it returns or continues. This is because there is more of it yet to be surrendered.
By continuously letting go, it is possible to stay in the state of freedom.