I once witnessed a moment on a two-week meditation retreat that I will never forget. After meditating all day, we would gather to listen to Maharishi, our teacher, speak. We were also given the opportunity to speak, to ask questions and share our struggles with the practice. One evening, the theme that kept cropping up was our collective struggle to “let go”. We hear these words a lot in our reflective practices but as we know, it is much easier to say than to do. One lady innocently raised her hand and asked “but exactly how do let go?”.
Maharishi looked at her, his eyes filled with compassion and then a little smile. In silence he picked up a pen from a small table next to him and held his arm out in front of him. He said “you just let go!” and he dropped the pen to the ground. I laughed because a part of me believed that ‘letting go’ was a difficult, long process. My whole body softened. There was a sense of relief that actually maybe the process of letting go could really be that simple. All it asks is that we consciously choose to let something go and bring our focus back to the present moment. “Go easy, always, always, easy” he went on to say.
Sometimes if I’m struggling with letting something go, I replay that moment in my head. I hope it might serve as a helpful analogy to you too. Sometimes I literally pick up a pen imagine it’s the thing I’m struggling with. Then I then hold it out in front of me and drop the pen on the floor. Often it feels lighter when I pick it up.
As we transition into Autumn and a new season, it is the perfect opportunity to make time to consciously let go of anything that no longer serves you. Here is a short meditation practice to support you in the process…
A meditation to let go
To start, find a comfortable seat – somewhere that you can sit for 5 minutes. Use props to support you and perhaps a blanket to cover you in case your body temperature drops.
Close your eyes and soften the muscles in your face. Take a few deep breaths and feel the contact of your body with the ground. Allow your sit bones to drop into the ground and the crown of your head to reach towards the sky. Taking a few moments to arrive and settle into your body.
Bring to mind something that you’re struggling with, something that you’re finding difficult to let go of. As you do this, notice where you feel the struggle in your body. For example – your chest. Now, place a hand on your chest and notice the comforting warmth of your hand on this part of your body.
Quietly say, “My peace is worth more to me than this. I choose to let this go”.
Repeat this process as many times as you need until the struggle or tension in your body begins to ease.
When you’re ready to bring your practice to a close, simply take a few deep breaths and slowly open your eyes. If you feel called to, perhaps take a couple of minutes to journal about how you feel. Journaling can be a very supportive tool in the process of letting go – providing helpful insights.
This is a practice you can come back to any time. And remember to make it “easy, always, always, easy”.
I want to leave you with this very special poem written by Safire Rose that has recently inspired my own process of letting go. For me, her words beautifully capture the quiet, simple process of surrender and I hope they can inspire you too…
She Let Go
She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.
She let go of the fear. She let go of the judgments. She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head. She let go of the committee of indecision within her. She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons. Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.
She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a book on how to let go. She didn’t search the scriptures. She just let go. She let go of all of the memories that held her back. She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward. She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.
She didn’t promise to let go. She didn’t journal about it. She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer. She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper. She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope. She just let go.
She didn’t analyze whether she should let go. She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter. She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment. She didn’t call the prayer line. She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.
No one was around when it happened. There was no applause or congratulations. No one thanked her or praised her. No one noticed a thing. Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
There was no effort. There was no struggle. It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be. A small smile came over her face. A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.