Practicing letting go is one of the foundations of mindfulness. What does it mean to let go? In therapy it could mean letting go of a disappointment from the past, a relationship that’s not working out, or it could mean letting go of a plan to change someone or something. Letting go can also be less tangible. It might mean letting go of a way of thinking that creates a negative state of mind, or it could be letting go of trying to control a subtle behavior.
Here’s an easy five-step meditation you can use with yourself or your clients to practice letting go.
It’s helpful to remember that letting go is rarely a one-shot deal. You may have a sense of acceptance around a situation one day, only to have an uncomfortable sense of clinging return the next day. Your mindfulness practice can help with this process.
- Relax, and take a few mindful breaths.
- Feel the tension start to melt away from your muscles, bones, skin. Feel your facial features relax.
- Remain in this relaxed body state for a few more breaths.
- Now, as thoughts arise, bring the same sort of tension-free awareness to your thoughts.
- Let go of the urge to control the thoughts. Allow yourself to flow with all the changes that come up as you sit. Feeling spacey, blissful, or irritable? go with it. Detaching from your experience, as if you were watching a movie on a screen with pleasant curiosity. You wouldn’t jump into the screen, would you? This is what letting go mind feels like.
It’s helpful to remember that letting go is rarely a one-shot deal. You may have a sense of acceptance around a situation one day, only to have an uncomfortable sense of clinging return the next day. This is why it’s helpful to practice mindfulness on a regular basis in a way that fits into your schedule and is helpful to you.
With regular practice, letting go will come to you with more ease.
How do you coach your clients in letting go? Let us know.