Releasing is a pretty straight forward concept: simply “let go” of any thoughts/feelings/problems you might have – just like dropping a handful of dirt to the floor.
There are many releasing techniques available. They’re relatively similar though, so I’ll discuss the two key ones I’ve found so far.
If you’re interested, both of these stem from discoveries made by a guy called Lester Levenson about 40 years ago. Anything he’s written is worth reading, & there are many great videos of him on YouTube.
This is a relatively brain-centred approach. You ask the following question about any issue X.
- Can you let go of X?
- Will you let go of X?
And, well, that’s it. I’ve met several people for whom this technique works incredibly well. For me, if something is really bothering me, I can find it hard to detach emotionally enough to answer the questions clearly.
I do like the gradual loosening of your attachment to the issue, along with the final “When” question. The implication being, of course, that if you can, and will, why not just let go of it now? A lot of times it’s just never occurs that we’re the ones in control, & that we always have a choice about whether or not we focus on or attach to something.
This is more of a feeling based, rather than mind based approach (ie kinaesthetic, not intellectual):
- Become aware of the feeling
- Feel the feeling
- Identify the feeling
- Relax into the feeling
- Release the feeling
By identify, I don’t think they mean “oh, that’s the pain from being sworn at by my sister when I was 3” (although you may get those kinds of realisations), rather “oh, it’s just below my bottom rib, about an inch in.”
This method is more or less what I’ve found useful to do, except I just instinctively stay relaxed, and aware/feel/identify all kinda blend into one smooth “oh, I have a dark blue pain about there” sort of understanding.
It’s also helpful that you don’t need to even know what the feeling is about. It’s just an ‘it’, so you just let ‘it’ go. A lot of times our subconscious will protect us by hiding certain details from our conscious mind.
The release technique guys have a couple of other variants too:
1. Take each feeling/issue/thought back to its underlying core: Is it an issue about wanting (or lacking) control, safety or approval/love. Once you know then let go of that wanting/lacking control, safety or approval.
This is super helpful since letting go of wanting (say) approval in one area of your life, you then let go of a little bit of it from every area of your life, so your entire life benefits.
2. Instead of pushing the bad feeling etc down, by saying ‘no’ to it, or avoiding it.. do the opposite! Say yes to it, welcome the bad feeling/thought up, then just let it go as it comes up.
3. If things are crazily overwhelming, just say “not so bad” to the issue, letting it go as you do. This is surprisingly effective at detaching & releasing things.
Of course, this is just a brief overview. There are subtleties to both these variants. The important thing is to find one approach that resonates and works well for you.
How to find a feeling (if it hasn’t already popped up)
First, calm yourself down (repeating “not so bad” helps a lot). Try to sit or stand still, and take 3 regular breaths without thinking anything at all.
Next, look downwards (which triggers the kinaesthetic part of the brain & helps you focus on physical feelings). I also find it helpful to tap the karate chop point (ie, the side of your hand between little finger & wrist) with the fingers of the other hand. This helps “tune you in”.
Finally, say 3-4 times (for example) “Wanting approval from Pepe”. If this is an issue for you, you will often feel unexpected feelings arising. They could be sharp pains in odd places in your body, or a rushing sensation, or, as happened when I did the Vipassana course and was very calm/aware, you’ll feel like your head is on fire and your eyeballs are going to explode. Hehe.
The important thing is – it’s just a sensation. Don’t become attached to it. Don’t react to it. It’ll pass if you let it go, as all sensations do. The less you react to it, the easier the letting go is. Just try to locate the feeling internally, as accurately as you can. If you don’t feel something no matter what you try, either it’s not a problem for you, or just keep practising. Like all things, the more you do it, the better you’ll get and the more subtle the feelings you’ll be able to detect.
The great thing about this is you can then systematically clear every aspect of your life, without having to actually be in that situation. Anything you think you might have an issue with you can think about, feel, bring to the surface & let go.
A great starting point is to look for wanting (or lacking) approval, control, or safety, in any situation or towards every person in your life.
How To Let Go
As well as the Sedona/Releasing approaches above, here are the other methods I’ve tried:
- Imagining myself detaching from the feeling/problem, and it floating off
- Imagine a tube coming out of your chest or stomach (wherever the feeling is located), & the feeling sucking out into it
- Turning my grounding tube into a vacuum and letting that help me remove it
- Creating a rose (neutral object), grounding that, then sending the feeling/problem to that
- Imagining the feeling/problem in my hand, and dropping it
- Creating a rose around the feeling, sending it out over nearby water, and blowing it up
For a while I struggled a bit with “letting go”, or “releasing”. A big part of this is, of course, just my brain/ego making things more difficult (after all, our ego feeds on this kind of nonsense). The whole thing, as with life, is only as drawn out & complicated as I choose to make it.
It’s really just about practice though. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. After a while, you stop needing any kind of visual imagery, it just becomes “something you do”, as simple & easy as dropping something to the floor.
What it’s all about
Given that the mind and body are intrinsically linked, what I’m starting to realise is that by paying close attention to my body, what I’m actually releasing aren’t necessarily physical issues at all. They’re negative thoughts, behaviours, patterns, reactions. These pains that appear and disappear are my body/mind trying to communicate with me, in the best way it knows how – through feeling.
The great thing about this is you really don’t have to rationalise anything or figure out what any underlying cause is. Just being in a situation, feeling the feelings and releasing them will automatically clear out massive amounts of junk. From my own experience, just going to a place with a large number of unpleasant memories, or interacting with people that typically bring about aversive reactions can result in literally hundreds or thousands of these feelings coming up in a single day. All of them you simply drop.
The beauty is, once you starting doing this everywhere, next time you’re exposed to similar stimulus you can watch yourself barely reacting, if at all.
Oh, & if this sounds like a whole load of hokum? Try checking this vid. It’s a bit slow to start with (the first 20secs is just intro), but well worth persevering with:
Yes, that IS a guy who’s struggled with a cane for 20 years (some unidentifiable thyroid condition), throwing down his cane and walking. I see so many smaller examples every single day, this doesn’t surprise me in the slightest.
Ignore all the money money ra ra stuff on that site. It’s very $$ focused coz that’s what people (particularly in America) are mostly after when they start – ie, it gets people in the door. They’re super serious & super deep about it though (ie, money is a nice side effect, but what they’re actually pushing everyone towards is complete freedom). If they were just hucksters I would have biffed them years ago (as I have with oh so many others).
They have a whole range of products/services (obviously) but even just having the basic product you can go nuts with it from there – ie, spend almost nothing (as I have) but gain enormously. Ie, you really don’t have to give them tons of money, or anything crazy like that.
The reason for buying the product is that it gives you a lot of context, plus has tons of exercises for helping to clear up your entire life (it’s something like 12 CDs, plus a book). What I talk about on this blog is really just the tip of the iceberg.
There’s also a ton of weekly calls you can listen to for free here. People ring up with problems or to share great things that have happened, and they get helped or congratulated etc. These are absolutely brilliant for hitting problems from different angles, picking up neat tricks and so on (plus, you know, free! Yay!) I like to download them & listen to them on my iPod while I’m walking around. Instant meditation+growth. Fantastic.