Living in the high-stress, fast-paced life of our contemporary, western world leaves you with little time for yourself. One of the best things you can do in your precious free time is to cultivate the art of letting go.
Letting go is an art form and indeed, a science that is more commonplace in eastern cultures where meditation and mindfulness is routinely practiced, and where materialism does not exist in the same way it does here. People there possess very little in terms of material possessions. However, their inner happiness and calm is testimony to the quality of their inner life.
So just how do they do that?
Our Fleeting Existence
Cultural mindsets in India and Tibet, Thailand and Vietnam, for example, are more aware of the limitations of our mortal existence, how temporary our existence is, and how, as the Tibetan Buddhists say, “Death can come at any time.”
Here in the west we tend to deny that death exists, we are uncomfortable even talking about death as a natural part of life. We pretend we will live forever and we idolize a culture of youth and beauty, minimizing the value of the wisdom, which accompanies old age. The accumulation of wealth is one of our main aims. We mistakenly assume that going shopping or buying that new shiny object will bring us happiness!
Depression Is An Epidemic
Yet we suffer, from an epidemic of depression and stress, and we are dependent on prescription drugs like never before in order just to function. This overproduction of stress causes tension in the body and tension in the body leads to dis-ease. If your mind is constantly under a state of anxiety and worry, focusing on the future, on what hasn’t yet happened, then you are likely creating dis-ease in your body.
Alternatively, your mind could be ruminating on past events and how they didn’t go the way you wanted them to. Either way you are neither aware of, nor accepting of, your present circumstances. You are not accepting what IS… you are not living in the NOW.
Letting Go, The Art
Letting go is an art, which takes practice, but if you master it, it can lead to inner peace, and happiness. It can take many different forms. Here are some ways you can practice letting go:
· Meditation. There are many types of meditation. Meditation is not about empting the mind. It is not about clearing the mind of all thought. Quite the opposite. In a nutshell, meditation allows you to practice observing your thoughts, without being caught up in them. It gives you the capacity to detach from your thoughts and observe them with curiosity. Thoughts come, and when we let them, they go. In this state, the body begins to relax.
· Mindfulness. Mindfulness is really one form of meditation. It is the art of being present. For example, if you are washing dishes and you are practicing mindfulness, instead of rushing through the task on auto pilot, you would slow yourself down to take notice of how the water feels as it is running down the side of your hands… you would pay attention to the weight of the cup in your hands… you would pick up on the citrus scent of the dish washing fluid, and so on. The point being, that by focusing on what is happening in this present moment we are able to let go of our preoccupations with the past or the future. By becoming more present, we are able to live a richer, more authentic life.
· Relaxation. Relaxation focuses on letting go of physical stress and tension. This in turn leads to the mind letting go and becoming more still. Deep relaxation is very beneficial to the overall health of the body and the mind.
Letting Go, The Science
Science has shown that relaxation, meditation and mindfulness can reduce symptoms of stress, heart disease, depression, and anxiety. That is very good news!
In a short time frame of a few weeks and practising for as little as ten minutes each day, positive results have been gleaned.
If you feel that life is getting you down, that stress is overwhelming and you wonder how you can cope, perhaps it is time you really considered that the benefits of a few minutes relaxing each day far outweigh the costs of investing that short amount of time in your own well-being.
Instead of thinking that you do not have time to relax or meditate, isn’t it time to realize that you do not have time NOT to?
If you need help developing habits that will allow you to experience a more positive human experience, reach out to me! I would love to support you.