The Art of Letting Go

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Are you sure you want to hone this art? Are you absolutely sure you want to be a big loser? Now that I have your attention, let’s understand the what, why and how of letting go.

First, what is it that we want to let go of? Nobility, generosity, smile? Of course not, right? It is that grudge against the ex, an insult hurled by a co-worker, an investment that went sour, frustration and anger that riles you up periodically, making you reach out for the TUMS.

Next, why should I let go? An appeal to the logical mind – it is very simple, it is MY nervous system, not his or hers, that is getting fried when I toss and turn in the middle of the night. ‘That’ individual is sound asleep, thank you very much! The medical term for this may be heartburn but it is the mind that starts to smolder when negative emotions pay a visit. So to let go is to lighten ourselves, no favor done to the other.

That brings us to the how – easier said than done? It depends on the approach. I can offer a few practical tips for you to implement.

Observation

When that guilt or regret or frustration sloshes around, observe the sensations – increased heart rate, rising body temperature and most importantly, altered breathing. If you observe this even once, half the battle is won. Until that happens, all of this letting go business will simply remain a concept and will add to your woes.

Breath

Consider learning and practicing pranayama. Even a simple technique like ‘alternate nostril breathing’ when practiced regularly, can help to bring down the magnitude of the quakes and ‘after shocks’ in the mind.

Music

Make time for Mozart, Beethoven or ancient chants or kirtan in your daily calendar. Music activates the right side of our brain while the agony in our mind is thanks to our intellect and activated left hemisphere of the brain. This ‘counter activation’ can lead to a balance in our state of mind.

Big Picture

Lastly, remind yourself of the finite and the infinite. Our life on this planet is finite, sorry this point is not open for discussion. Why waste the precious remaining vacation time on this planet? The number of tourists on this planet though are infinite, if you consider the generations before and after. So take a step back, way back, marvel at the solar system, the galaxy and beyond. Ever wondered how the soaring mountains, magnificent waterfalls, splendid valleys and the deep oceans fell in place? Suddenly, our problem appears a little less significant, doesn’t it? Just let go for now and you can pick it up again later, if you insist.

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