I was having a conversation with a friend recently about our biggest takeaway from living in Bali. She shared that hers has been “trust” and I responded to mine being “surrender”… which led me to the realization that these two concepts actually go hand in hand.
Only when we fully trust, can we learn how to surrender and let go.
In the yoga practice, this is called Ishvara pranidhana— to surrender (pranidhana) to God, or a higher source (Isvara). Our old emotional paradigms and unhealthy mental resistance (known as samskaras) melt away when we surrender. It’s believed that this is a crucial step on the path of freedom, liberation and enlightenment— Samadhi, which is the ultimate yoga goal according to Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga.
Surrendering allows us to fully step into our lives ready to receive, completely able to manifest and willing to embrace everything—the good, the bad and the unpredictable—with an open heart. It’s from this place of trust where real magic happens.
I’m still learning how to live between this balance of effort and ease. I don’t think letting go is something that just happens automatically or clicks in one day. I think it’s something that requires conscious effort, practice, patience and most importantly, trust. We will continuously be challenged and tested on our ability to gracefully surrender throughout the course of our lives.
One of the biggest key principles for letting go is learning how to be present so that we can be mindful of our emotions when they arise. When I sense fear getting the best of me, I try to remember to surrender to love. When I release my resistance to love’s presence, I am able to receive what I need— what’s trying to come into my life at that exact moment, for my highest good.
I think of letting go as diving in, not turning away. As living in each moment, getting as close to a full life experience as possible in this one moment. To do that, we need to learn how to let go of what isn’t ours to hold onto forever. Here are a few simple and realistic ideas that can help.
HOW TO LET GO: 4 SIMPLE AND FOUNDATIONAL PRACTICES…
At its core, an attachment is about not wanting something to be the way it is. It is resistance to reality and it’s hard to change what you never acknowledged needed changing in the first place. You may want something in your life to be different, but you need to honor what is, for what it is, first.
Fight what is, and it will fight back. Try to rush your healing with angst rather than curiosity and it will hold you back.
Over and over, acceptance is the practice of opening and investigating the moment with curiosity, courage and deep breaths.
Letting go doesn’t mean you resist or avoid, just that you don’t get attatched to every passing thought or moment that occurs.
Through awareness, personal growth and intuition we can invite surrender in when it comes knocking. It’s a choice made in the present moment. Seeing reality for what it is and opening up to it wholeheartedly. Start by paying close attention to your feelings and your actions that follow.
Your feelings aren’t random, they are messengers.
When we feel worried, we are tightly attached to how we want things to be, rather than relaxing into accepting whatever might happen when we try our best.
When we feel frustrated with someone, it’s because we’re attached to how we want them to be, rather than accepting them as the wonderful flawed human they are.
When we feel stressed and start to procrastinate, usually it’s because we are attached to things being easy and comfortable (like distractions) rather than accepting that to do something important, we have to push into discomfort.
And so on.
When you bring more awareness to your feelings and actions you can learn directly where in your life requires a little bit more trust and letting go.
Paying attention to the present moment creates space around the thoughts floating around in your head. Meditation is one of the simplest ways to practice this. There are many different meditation techniques and apps out there, but you don’t need to overwhelm yourself or make it complicated. Simply find a quiet space to have a comfortable seat and begin to focus on your breath and any thoughts/feelings that arise. You don’t have to erase the thoughts or control them, just keep coming back to your observation of them, your breath or a mantra or other focal point.
Through meditation, it’s possible to see how we attach our worries, planning and ruminating. We can see how when we entertain and run wildly with a thought, rather than letting it go, we end up creating a story that often doesn’t serve our highest self. We can practice letting go of these attachments by simply refocusing on the present moment.
Meditation is peace training, space making and a way to lighten the load of everything we’re carrying.
Connect with compassion.
Compassion is a practice too, a skill that can be built no matter who you are or what your past looks like.
Try to see every attachment as a call for compassion. In your meditations, visualize an end to your attachments and suffering with compassion and let that loving-awareness evolve into a wish for the end of the suffering of others. As you focus on warming your heart, attachments start to melt and you’re granted a little wiggle room. Your awareness grows. Instead of dwelling on what you’re trying to let go, you focus on loving anyway.
When you see others’ suffering, your suffering is suddenly not so different or impossible.
The more we practice loving-kindness, the more we foster compassion and let go of judgement and hostility.
Sometimes this looks like giving yourself compassion for not being fully ready or able to let go. Remember that this practice takes time and continuous conscious effort. Honor wherever you are currently at on this journey of trust and surrender.
Through surrender, we can move from outer turmoil to inner peace. By letting go of expectations and outcomes, we can transform a painful experience into a positive, transformative endeavor. Through trust and surrender, we become ready to receive, to tap into the abundant possibilities available to us and to manifest a life free from restraint and restrictions.
Which one of these letting go practices could you use the most today?
Tell me in the comments, I’d love to know!