Letting go. The Pathway of Surrender
Throughout the entirety of history, humankind and a large part of the knowledge systems created by it, such as philosophy, literature, medicine, and psychology, have been looking for the most effective way of ridding people of their suffering. But most often the sources of our suffering are found in the world around us and the blame for our dissatisfaction falls on people, places, social institutes, the weather, fate, or even on politicians.
Still there is no single external factor that can cause us as much suffering as our own negative emotions, especially those that have become the main backdrop to our existence and our second nature. When facing these negative feelings we resist them and try to suppress them. We are so used to acting this way that we often fail to notice how it happens and gradually start resisting all our feelings.
Accumulated and suppressed emotions contain energy that is constantly looking for an escape valve and expresses themselves in a chronically stressed state and/or physical and psychological illnesses. But quality of life and the ability to feel joy and happiness can be lost even without suffering a specific illness. A suppressed negative emotion turns into something like a filter, a pair of lenses through which we look at reality.
According to David Hawkins, the practice of just letting go stands out due to its simplicity, efficiency, and lack of disputable claims. Not only do we stop repressing our feelings, thereby freeing ourselves from them, but we also stop resisting positive changes in our lives. We start experiencing more love, while becoming bigger-hearted, kinder, and happier people.
For a long time it was believed that acknowledging emotions was for the weak. Many generations of people grew up with no understanding of which emotions they were experiencing and what they were supposed to do with them. The method for detecting emotions and how to work with them offered in "Letting Go…" could become the foundation for forming psychological well-being of current and future generations. It would have been great to have learned this while we were in school and used it throughout our lives.
We always fight our negative emotions trying to get rid of the worries they cause. We are afraid of emotions primarily because we don’t have a way of living in peace with them. Suppressed emotions accumulate and get driven into the subconscious where it’s very difficult to detect them. At the same time, when they are trapped in the subconscious they bring even more destruction and are even less manageable. The most frequently used mechanisms to protect us from the unpleasant taste of negative emotions are:
▶Suppression and repression. This is the most popular way to either consciously repress or subconsciously suppress emotions. Which feelings we choose suppress or repress totally depends on our conscious and subconscious programming, which are determined by our upbringing, cultural background, and behavioral norms accepted in society. In addition, this process involves two other mechanisms of our psyche: denial and projection. When we fear our emotions and experience shame for feeling them in the first place, we deny the fact that they exist at all. And instead of experiencing these various states of mind, we project them on the world around us and experience our feelings as if they belong to others, and we blame them for our problems. It’s the projection mechanism that is behind the majority of modern wars and outbursts of aggression and cruelty.
You are angry at a colleague because she is inattentive. But you shouldn’t get angry while at work, but rather you should give constructive criticism. That’s why this emotion simply gets repressed as undignified.
▶Expression. In trying to decrease the internal pressure caused by negative emotions, we attempt to express them either verbally, through body language or various actions. Freud’s wrongly interpreted message leads to many people mistakenly believing in the healing power of expressing emotions. In reality, expressing an emotion doesn’t decrease its energy, it only increases it. What’s more, expressing an emotion drives its remains from our conscious and decreases our ability to be aware both of its presence and the influence it will have on on us in future.
After a hard day’s work you come home to a mess, and lash out and shout at your daughter who hasn’t put her things away. This simple expression of anger leads to a deeper level of negative emotions, namely shame.
▶Escape. This mechanism allow you to avoid your own emotions through distraction. The escape mechanism has become the foundation for entire industries of entertainment and alcohol production. All of these escape methods are inefficient and require a lot of energy to contain people’s growing emotional pressure. This gradually leads to our losing the ability to be creative and we then being losing interest in people. The level of our consciousness decreases exponentially and our development eventually stops. What’s worse, some of these methods of escape eventually lead to addiction, diseases or premature death.
Every Friday when you go out with your friends you tend to drown the week’s tension in your wine and engage in lots of unpleasant conversations that lead to unpleasant emotions.