The hardest thing about learning how to let go is actually the very simplicity of it.
We are more used to complication than simplicity. The linear mind loves to get its hooks into something and occupy itself with it. However, getting hooked into that process keeps us distracted and identified with being a mind or a self concept, which is the source of suffering in the first place. When we think that all we ARE is the mind, beliefs, thoughts, feelings, body, history, and etc., we suffer.
Here is a short exercise to directly experience the simplicity of how to let go. (This exercise is inspired by The Sedona Method, developed by Lester Levenson.)
THAT is how to let go of all suffering. Seriously!
So why do we make letting go of suffering more complicated than that? Because we IDENTIFY with suffering. We think it IS us. We build an identify around it, and then give our allegiance to it.
Daily, we feed this self-concept with our thoughts and our attention, infusing it with our Life Force. After awhile we become so used to it, we have almost totally forgotten who we really are – the peaceful presence of Awareness that is aware OF the suffering.
Just about everything we do is motivated by
the desire for happiness. We search for it because innately we know we already
ARE happiness. However, when we've forgotten the truth of who we are,
there is a constant yearning and searching for peace, happiness and
The irony is that when we search FOR it we turn away FROM it. To search for happiness implies that you are separate from it and keeps you locked into, and identified WITH the very perspective that is creating the experience of unhappiness in the first place. Consequently, until you know how to let go into the peaceful, aware Truth of what you already are, you will be compelled to search for joy and love "out there" – in objects or experiences.
However, true, everlasting, unshakeable happiness lies in the other direction – within. As we learn how to let go of our usual identifications, we naturally discover we already are happiness!
To know ourselves as Pure Awareness, the shining, open, peaceful, happy presence that we already are, we first need to know how to let go of the search for happiness "out there," even if just for a moment. Every moment that you let go of searching for happiness is a moment when you are no longer feeding the belief you are separate from it.
As you discover how to let go and bring your attention to and explore This That You Already Are, simply here and aware, gradually you will give your allegiance to it. As a result, the belief that you are a separate, incomplete "me" gradually falls away, layer by layer, as well as the suffering that results from it.
Imagine that you work your entire life to build a house. You put all your effort and energy into trying to get it to be just the way you want it. Sometimes you are successful at building parts of it, but it never quite looks or feels exactly the way you imagined it to be. You find that you can influence your experience to some degree but you can't totally control it.
At times you might be happy with your "house" and at other times you feel disappointed, sad, angry or fearful about how it is.
No matter how it plays out, most of your energy is devoted to building this perfect house. Either that or you give up on building the house and spend your energy in recycling misery about how the house doesn't match what you want.
Instead, I invite you to bring your attention to the Home that is already here for you, and in fact is what you ARE! This "you" is already whole and complete and always has been.
In learning how to let go and know yourself as Pure Awareness, it's important to know this is not something we DO. Rather, it is something we NOTICE. Pure Awareness isn't something magical that is added to you that wasn't here before and now suddenly is. When you refer to yourself as "I" or "me," what you are really referring to is this undefined, alive Presence that is simply here, and always has been here.
The only reason we suffer is because our attention is usually on the objects OF our attention rather than on us, Attention Itself. We're so busy looking for happiness "out there" in objects, relationships and etc., that we've abandoned the only place where happiness actually is – in us, Awareness.
When our attention is predominantly on objects – feelings, sensations, sights, sounds, thoughts, self-concepts – This That We Simply Are seems to be in the background, unnoticed.
We are like a pristine lake of water with debris floating on the surface. When all our attention is on the debris and we identify ourselves AS that debris, we have forgotten that we are the peaceful, luminous lake it is all floating in.
To know ourselves as happiness, all that is required is a simple shift of attention. Rather than flowing your attention out to an object, experience, thought, or state, let attention rest back into itself.
As you're learning how to let go and notice it feels like you've left Home (which happens when you give your attention and allegiance to being a separate "me" that is made up of thoughts, self concepts and feelings), you can bring your attention back HERE, to this present moment, and you are Home.
In truth, it isn't even possible to leave Home. This dimension and everything in it arises within us, Awareness, and is made up out of the very same "fabric" we, Awareness, are made of.
However, when you focus on and identify with something in the dream – either as yourself as a separate body or self-concept or someone or something else as a separate "thing" – you will immediately feel discomfort.
The suffering comes from shrinking
yourself down, putting a border around yourself and then identifying yourself as that: "I'm a body, with a name, history, package of feelings, beliefs and thoughts." When we believe that is our reality, we suffer immediately. Consequently, until you know how to let go of that limited identification of yourself, you feel compelled to look
happiness "out there" somewhere and you're back on the familiar hamster
wheel of suffering, abandoning the one place where happiness actually is – in you, Awareness.
While we are identified with being a separate me – a collection of thoughts, self concepts, and etc. – we are always trying to be a better, happier "me." As we search for experiences to make us happy we first look in the world for it. After we've exhausted all the possibilities – relationships, career, states of mind, substances, and etc. – and still don't feel permanently happy, eventually we turn toward spirituality. We begin to look within, in the one place we haven't looked for it before.
In the process of awakening, as you are learning how to let go into the happiness you already are, you will find many different tools and techniques along the way that point your attention into yourSelf, Awareness. At first each tool seems to "work" and you experience a degree of peace.
However, you've probably noticed that after awhile every technique no longer works. Every wondered why?
It is because the mind and self concept we think we are – a separate "me" – grabs the technique and incorporates the technique into the "me." So now, rather than resting in the formless, body-less, infinite Awareness we are, we now identify ourselves as a "me" who meditates, or who wants to be a better meditator, to be more peaceful, or who is proud of the fact that s/he meditates every day.
This is still looking for happiness in a thing, experience or state, and identifying yourself as a separate "me" you want to make into a better "me," rather than knowing the You who is already simply here, aware and always at peace.
When this happens you'll notice that your experience with the technique, which initially led to a positive feeling, now feels flat and ineffective.
Then what usually happens is layers of anger, sadness and self-judgement are exposed. The opportunity then is to simply BE with these energies arising and let them unwind on their own. However, what usually happens is we identify with the "me" who is disappointed and perhaps feeling hopeless. So then we either give up and fall into depression or we get busy looking for another technique.
Instead you can let the energy of disappointment, hopelessness, depression or yearning be here as it is, without defining it or building a self-concept around it. Eventually all these layers of suffering will let go on their own, when we give them all to Awareness, and are no longer feeding the "me" self-concept with our allegiance. Eventually Awareness transforms everything back into Itself.
Are techniques for learning how to let go into happiness bad?
No, not at all. They all have their place. We naturally draw to us whatever the next step is in our Awakening. Sometimes we spend years or even lifetimes on one step before we're ready for the next one. Then the next step will come in the form you are most ready to accept at the time. A book, teaching, or teacher will appear in your life and you'll resonate with it. It will draw your attention to it. And that step will eventually take you to the next step.
It's good to recognize that all the tools on this plane, are just that, tools. They will point your attention to you, Awareness, then there is a time to naturally let go of each technique when it has served its purpose. It will naturally fall away.
It's like the story about two friends who wanted to cross a river. They noticed there were materials available to build a raft, so they built one and made their way across the river. When they reached the shore, they hoisted the raft onto their shoulders and carried it as they walked along on their journey. Eventually they recognized they didn't need the raft any more, as they were no longer encountering rivers. What had been an important tool at the appropriate time was now a heavy burden. So they gave the raft away. Not too long after that, they discovered a bicycle, which helped them move along their journey much faster.
You'll know when a spiritual "raft" becomes a burden rather than a help. It will FEEL like a burden and you will naturally let it go as you move on to the next step for you.
Have you noticed that your biggest breakthroughs come right after you give up struggling against whatever is going on? When we finally get to the place where we can say, "I surrender all," it is then, and only then, that we begin to know peace.
Awareness isn't dependent on what the linear mind calls "success." In our lives, all of us have experienced a time when the "raft" doesn't help us anymore. We wear out a technique. There we are, with our anger, fear, sadness, depression exposed. We don't like it, we flail and try to make the suffering go away, to no avail.
When that happens, it's a ripe time
for a much deeper recognition of what we truly are – Pure Awareness, Consciousness, The Perceiver, whatever name you know it by, that is unchanged by the emotions or the resistance to them. It is still at peace.
As we learn how to let go, we need to bring everything we think we have to the table, including all the ways we’ve picked up along the way to manipulate our experience, to improve it. We need to give up the idea of gaining something, of trying to ADD something to ourselves. All of that keeps our attention distracted from the peace that we already are, and keeps us identified as a separate "me" self concept that needs improving. Instead we can get to know ourselves as this Presence that we already are, already whole and complete, with nothing lacking.
Everything that appears in the body, emotions, thoughts, and the circumstances of our lives is a reflection of the beliefs we have about what we are. In the body this is experienced as tightness, contractions, and knots. Intertwined with these sensations are uncomfortable thoughts and feelings.
When these sensations / emotions are exposed, don't "work" on them. Don't try to fix or heal them. That keeps you identified with an illusory separate "me" who must become a better "me."
Instead, simply let the sensations / emotions be. Acceptance first. And it is only as Awareness that we are capable of fully accepting anything.
This is how we learn how to let go and Be the Awareness that is aware OF them. Tell Awareness, "you take this." As Rupert Spira says, this is like soaking in a warm bath of water and letting the water soften, loosen and release your aches and pains.
As we learn how to let go into Awareness, it gradually transforms all contractions, emotions, and debilitating beliefs back into itself.
In WellBeing Alignment Sessions I coach you in the process of learning how to let go of these sensations, beliefs and identifications of being a separate "me," which allows them to unwind on their own.
During a "dark night of the soul" as it's sometimes called, if you find that all your techniques for happiness are no longer working, you are in the perfect place for learning how to let go.
The following might help:
Just for this moment, right now, let go of trying to gain anything. Let go of any attempt to change or manipulate your experience in this moment. Let it all be as it is. Let what is here be here. If what you're most aware of is sadness, for example, decline to label it as sadness and let the undefined energy itself simply be here, because it IS here.
As you notice the sadness as a nameless, undefined sensation or vibration, notice that you are the Noticer (Awareness) that is aware OF this vibration. Then notice that the Noticer isn't sad. It is neutral.
Just be with that noticing. Continue it for as long as it feels good, without making it into a "should."
This gradually shifts your attention to what you truly are, Awareness, at peace, no matter what is arising.
“Let us be still an instant, and forget all things we ever learned, all thoughts we had, and every preconception that we hold of what things mean and what their purpose is. Let us remember not our own ideas of what the world is for. We do not know. Let every image held of everyone be loosened from our minds and swept away.
“Be innocent of judgment, unaware of any thoughts of evil or of good that ever crossed your mind of anyone. Now do you know him not. But you are free to learn of him, and learn of him anew. Now is he born again to you, and you are born again to him, without the past that sentenced him to die, and you with him. Now is he free to live as you are free, because an ancient learning passed away, and left a place for truth to be reborn.”
A Course In Miracles, Chap 31, Section I, pars 12, 13
The following links are also helpful for shifting your attention to yourself as Pure Awareness:
Follow whatever technique you resonate with. As I mentioned before, if you notice that after awhile you've made it into a practice and it feels flat and stale, let it go. Because you already ARE Pure Awareness, you, Awareness, will continually call your attention back to it. Your full realization of the peaceful Truth you already are is assured.
If you'd like support to learn how to let go, let suffering unwind, and awaken to the happiness you already are, I'm very happy to coach you...
In WellBeing Alignment Sessions you can learn an amazingly simple yet powerful, direct method of letting all forms of suffering and "stuckness" unwind by itself, and discover you are the Peace that was underneath it all along!
Ready to live your life from an entirely different perspective? How about a much happier one? Click here for more information.