Dr Jan Goss

Letting Go

I’m reading a great book by David Hawkins PhD, entitled Letting Go: The Path of Surrender, in which the author manages to balance his experience as a psychiatrist and practising psychotherapist with spirituality – I continue to recommend it to anyone and everyone who is ‘serious’ about their personal development.

The theme of letting go has been a prominent one for me this year, as a number of surprises have presented themselves. A week-long retreat I attended in August seemed to focus on that subject too – it seemed that the monastics leading the retreat were, at times, talking specifically to me! I know from my work with clients that it is a process that most of us confront and often struggle with, as we transition from one scenario to another, both in personal and professional contexts.

The work of letting go is ongoing and requires us to be flexible, creative and resilient if we are to make change as painless as possible for our self and those we are in relationship with. As part of the process of change, gaining greater understanding of ‘letting go’ is inevitably going to be helpful in transitioning more effectively through change, so that we are able to approach the next phase of life peacefully, with acceptance.

A strong mindfulness practice ensures that we are able to transition smoothly, because as part of the skills set that it helps us to develop, we learn the art of letting go. Letting go comes from the acceptance that we learn to develop through the practice of being non-judgmental, through the simple act of repeatedly refraining from making judgments of our self, our thoughts, and our ability to practice. Not judging the sound of a siren, car alarm, barking dog, or angry neighbour for example, as we sit and meditate, we are in turn letting go of judgemental behaviour by allowing those neural pathways to weaken, and in turn reinforcing the pathways of ‘non-judgment’ in our brain, we automatically develop the skill of acceptance.

Acceptance is the inevitable outcome of not judging, and letting go of the negative thoughts and behaviours we harbour and exhibit is the basis of learning to let go. When we increase our capacity for this, life becomes less of a struggle and strain, we let go of ‘trying’ and move into a more peaceful state of mind and we experience greater synchronicity. Life flows, only as we let go of resistance.

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