Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Letting go versus getting rid of

When my clients experience negative emotions, they are quite eager to see them go away.  They often associate therapeutic procedures with getting rid of these emotions.  Meditation is seen in the same light.  When they hear of "letting go," they think they are going to get rid of these troublesome emotions.

I frequently demonstrate the difference between letting go and getting rid of something by holding a pen in my hand.  To illustrate getting rid of the pen, I throw the pen forcefully on the ground.  To illustrate letting go of the pen I open my hand and incline it slightly so that the pen gently rolls down my outstretched hand and falls to the ground.  Letting go involves opening the mind and inclining it towards the release of whatever shows up (whether it be negatively or positively charged) so that it falls away of its own weight.

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