Why letting go is so hard?
The letting go technique by David R. Hawkins is one of the simplest techniques for enlightenment and personal growth. Yet, a lot of people struggle to seek the real benefits of this technique because they cannot persist with it. That is why this article aims to answer the question “Why letting go is so hard” in regards to the letting go technique by Hawkins. Furthermore, this article gives 5 practical steps to make it easy.
The technique is not hard, you are making it hard
Usually, when we encounter something easy and simple, we tend to think that there is a catch. We say to ourselves that “it cannot be that easy”. Because we learned through socialization and experience that good things are hard to attain and maintain. And while there is some truth to that statement, it is only partly true for the letting go technique by Hawkins. The letting go technique by Hawkins is simple. Its instructions are easy to understand and to implement. So why letting go is so hard?
Letting Go Technique Guided Mediation
Guided Letting Go Technique Meditation inspired by Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender
Book by David R. Hawkins.
This letting go meditation help you to let go of any emotions, thoughts, past events, behaviors or even traumas.
Duration: 15 Minutes
spoken by Lorelle Dehnhard
Most of us experienced something in our life that was painful or traumatic. We usually say that some of these experiences shaped us and made us who we are. For example, we are the person who had depression once but is now happier than ever, the child who lost their parents but lives in a loving family now, or the successful business person who once lost their job.
Now, these are examples in which we successfully got out of the pain and created something better. But what about the experiences and pains we didn’t outlive?
The pains and experiences we didn’t outlive and that still cause a negative emotional response are part of our ego identity. We either tell ourselves the story constantly and feel sorry for our negative experiences (conscious ego identity) or we suppress it and the pain is subconsciously part of our experience (subconscious ego identity).
Examples would be
- A man or woman who separated with their spouse and is constantly talking with their friends and family about that breakup and seemed to not be able to get over it (conscious ego identify).
- A person who got betrayed by a friend is saying they forgave their friend yet they didn’t forgive emotionally so they are suppressing the feeling of hurt and anger (subconscious ego identity).
- Someone who has mental health issues, doesn’t get treatment or seeks help but gets a lot of attention from friends and family (conscious and subconscious ego identify).
Now when the ego made pain as part of the conscious or subconscious identity, it can be extremely hard to let go of the pain. So we need to understand why the ego is doing that and then resolve it.
The hidden reason the ego is holding on to pain
The No.1 reason the ego is holding on to pain and makes it thus hard to overcome this pain is that the ego seeks a benefit from holding on to the pain. That benefit comes usually in the form of getting an unmet need met such as getting attention, having friends and family listen to you, being the victim, or getting help.
In the examples from above it could be the following:
- The Breakup: getting attention
- The Betrayal: being the victim
- Mental Health without treatment: attention from friends and family, people listening
To discover what this need is for you, think about the last time you felt the negative emotion and what the situation was. Then ask yourself:
– What do I need in this situation?
– To feel better now, what do I need?
The answer can be a multitude of needs.
Now the key understanding here is that if you don’t let go of or meet the unmet need that makes the ego stick to the identity, you will have an extremely hard time letting go.
How to Resolve the ego identity?
To let go of the attachment the ego has to the pain you have two options. You can either meet the unmet meet directly or let go of the desire to meet that need. And before you decide what you want to do, you need to know that each approach is good for certain needs.
The approach of letting go of the desire to meet the need is good when the need is a negative one that stems from trauma. From the above examples, it would be the need to be a victim. The approach of meeting the need directly is good when the need is “human” to have such as someone listening, getting attention, feeling loved and appreciated.
In the following, the two approaches will be described. I suggest you read through both of them and see which one is best for your case.
Approach: Meeting the unmet need
This approach is great for needs that are genuine and “human” to have such as attention; feeling loved; feeling seen, heard, and understood; having close and intimate relationships, and so on.
- Remember the experience where you felt the emotion you have trouble letting go of.
- While remembering, ask yourself What do I need in this situation? What would make me feel better? What is the key emotion you need to feel? How would I feel if I have this need met?
- Now ask yourself How can I meet this need in the situation and in my normal life? Who can I ask to provide this need? What people can I surround myself with that make this need fulfilled? What can I do to meet this need?
Example for answers
- A breakup
- My need is to be in a peaceful, loving, and harmonious relationship with a compatible partner. I need to feel loved and connected.
- At all times I can surround myself with people that make me feel loved and connected. I can find new friends that are very compatible with me. Next time I go to an event, I will make sure it’s part of my interest and a place where I can find a partner. When dating, I can ask questions that are important to me that ensure we are compatible.
Remember in step 2 to go to the essence of the emotion that you want to feel. By asking the questions: How would I feel if I have this need met? You can do this.
When you brainstorm ways to meet the need, don’t be shy to include other people. We are a human species that thrives on connection and it’s completely normal for us to have other people meet our needs. Consider also, that you can directly ask someone to meet a need for you.
After collecting all the answers, make sure to take action from step 3.
Approach: Letting go of the need
This approach is great for needs that are a burden and come from past trauma. For example: having other people feel sorry for you, being the victim, wanting to be the center of attention, crying so that people see you, and so on.
In this approach, we use the letting go technique to surrender to the need itself plus a technique to heal trauma.
Steps to let go of a need
- Remember an experience that you have trouble letting go of
- Ask yourself What do you need in this situation? What would make me feel better? What is the key emotion you need to feel? How would I feel if I have this need met?
- Now focus on the emotion that you answered and affirm: I allow the emotion of… to fully come to the surface now.
- Then surrender and allow the emotion to come up. You may notice a shift in your mood and sensations in your body.
- Locate where you feel this emotion in your body. Is it in your chest, stomach, forehead, or somewhere else?
- Sit completely still and be fully present with the sensation in your body for 5-10 minutes.
- Notice how it gets stronger or becomes weaker.
- After 5-10 minutes and if the sensation is still present, ask yourself: When was the first time I felt this way?
- Allow any memories, visions, sounds, or other sensations to come up.
- Observe the situation, sounds, or other feelings and ask yourself or the version of you in the memory what do you need?
- Then, when you have a vision, change the memory in a way where you imagine the need being provided either by someone else or by you like an adult version in the memory.
- After this process, continue asking What do you need and providing it until you feel a sense of resolve.
After the process
When you are done with this process, you should feel better and lighter immediately or in the next few days.
These two approaches help to let go of the identity the ego derives from pain which then makes it easier to practice the letting go technique by Hawkins and the question “why letting go is so hard” will no longer be in your mind.
Resistance To Life
Through my work as a meditation and life coach in which I primarily use the letting go technique by Hawkins, I talk to a lot of people who want to let go for the sake of reaching enlightenment. They come to me because they are somehow stuck and cannot let go more.
Usually, after asking them a few questions, it becomes clear to me that they want to let go because they are tired of the pain, chasing desires or they just want to feel good all the time. The problem with this approach is that they are resisting the essence of life. Furthermore, the state of feeling good all the time or feeling nothing, not experiencing and ups and downs, and not desiring anything, sounds like a state of death to me.
But we are all in this human body and on this earth to experience and understand life. We are here to experience oneness and being a creator by fully living and utilizing our dreams. Wanting to let go of this is separation itself and thus not enlightenment. So what can you do if these are your motives and that is why you are asking yourself why letting go is so hard?
Are you escaping life?
Why do I want to escape life? For what reason do I want to reach a state of enlightenment? What would that give me? When thinking about it, what do I imagine I will be free of?
What are your answers?
If your answer is something along the lines of “I will no longer feel the ups and downs”, ask yourself if the problem is the ups or downs? If it’s the downs, use the letting go technique on the downs to not have these phases be so long. Do your best to extract learnings from these downtimes and use them to create a better life.
When answering something similar to “I will not have desires”, ask yourself if the desires are the problem or your inability to make the desires a reality. Furthermore, ask yourself “If I would reach all my desires easily and effortlessly, would I still want to reach enlightenment?” If the answer is no, then you need to work on fulfilling your desires and make them a reality.
If your answer is something like “I want to feel better”, explore how you can make yourself feel better right now and how you can eliminate the things that don’t make you feel good.
Reach Enlightenment by living life
I believe that you can reach enlightenment by living life.
- Through fully experiencing the ups and downs you can realize that emotions and thoughts are creating the ups and downs. Events themselves are neutral.
- By actualizing your desires, you can experience that you are the ultimate creator thus you are god.
- While going towards what feels good every day, you will be able to enter a state of flow where you are acting from divine power. This then creates a realization that you are one with god.
Resistance To Letting Go
Some practitioners of the letting go technique by David Hawkins find it hard to let go. They can spot the emotion but nothing happens when they do surrender or they encounter resistance when they apply the technique.
One of the reasons, which is also stated in the book, is that the ego knows you have a powerful tool and it tries to resist the technique. This resistance manifests in the form of thoughts such as “this is not working” or physically felt resistance in the body.
It does no benefit to try to ignore the resistance and force yourself to stay with the emotion. Contrary you need to deal with the resistance first and surrender to it until it fades. To do this you can simply use the same letting go technique on any negative thoughts (check out this article on negative thoughts and letting go) and on the sensations in the body. When you successfully surrendered the resistance, the emotion is free and you can let it go.
Lack of Persistence
Contrary to some descriptions, letting go does not always happen overnight. Oftentimes we spend hours surrendering to one emotion while nothing is happening. The emotion is still present and we are starting to question the technique.
What we forget in that case is that emotions that have little effect on our life and our happiness are easier to let go of than bigger impact emotions. The simple reason is that emotions, beliefs, and experiences that are affecting us a lot have been present for years if not decades. Letting go of these will require a lot of time and persistence.
Now, this can be encouraging because knowing that persisting with letting go when it’s challenging leads to a drastic life change and a boost in happiness. If you do think, on the other hand, that nothing is happening and you are stuck, go to the steps of “ego identity” and “resistance to life”.
Lack of Focus
The last point why letting go is so hard to the lack of focus. Letting go requires a trained mind that can focus for long periods. When we use the Hawkins technique we are asked to bring our undivided attention, our non-judgmental and full presence to the physical sensation in the body which is the manifestation of the emotion.
While doing this it is easy to get lost in thoughts, judgments, or other sensations. It’s easy for the mind to tell us that “this is not working” and we should stop. But as Hawkins mentioned in his book, this is exactly the sweet spot of letting go. When thoughts like this arise, impatience is surfacing or boredom is coming up, you are very close to a breakthrough. With a trained mind or a mind in training, you can in these moments remove your attention from these distractions and bring your focus back to the sensations and continue to stay there.
The more often you do this, the more trained your mind becomes and the closer you are to a breakthrough. And this breakthrough will be rewarding because you are focused on attention, no judgment, and full presence.
These were the give reasons and solutions for why letting go is so hard. If you made it to the end of this article, congrats. Leave a comment and share your thoughts. Furthermore, share this article with a friend.