During the past few months, I have been surrounded by death: a relative, a friend and two acquaintances. While feeling sad for those who have died and those who are left to grieve, I also had a realization: The dying process is a time to let go, whether we want to or not. With commitment, courage and acceptance, we are able to face death, let go and allow grace to carry us forward. If we resist the inevitable, we can get stuck in negative emotions, conflict and inner turmoil.
The deaths mentioned above occurred while I was working on letting go of the righteous judgments and negative emotions that disrupt my inner peace. These deaths had something to teach me about letting go: If I could pretend I was facing my own death, I might be able to let go more easily. Instead of getting stuck in emotional turmoil about something or someone that wasn’t functioning according to my “plan,” I practiced letting go.
I find that the letting go process is deepening my spirituality: It changes my perception of what really matters; eliminates the need to be right; and opens my heart to more love and gratitude. With more acceptance, I am able to let go of negative feelings, rigid beliefs, past grievances as well as trying to control the present moment and future outcomes. My willingness to see through the eyes of the objective observer allows grace to change my perception and neutralize my emotions.
This mindful approach enabled me to judge less and accept more. For example:
- When the news made me grumble and complain, I asked myself if this would matter if I were dying.
- When someone’s actions disappointed me, I asked myself if this would matter if I were dying.
- When I felt attached to having it my way, I asked myself if this would matter if I were dying.
You get the picture. I was surprised to find that I began letting go of my judgments and negative emotions with surprising ease. So, I thought this technique might help others move away from their emotional attachment and inner turmoil about people, things and events. (This does not apply in a life crisis or abusive situation.) The more I practice this technique, I notice that the perceived big “stuff” in my life is becoming smaller or no “stuff” at all. Of course, this is a work in progress.
When you make a commitment to have inner peace and are willing to do all that you can to achieve it, you are ready to practice the following:
- Notice when you are being pulled into a situation that causes you inner turmoil.
- Ask yourself if you are willing to let go of this judgment and turmoil in the moment: If you do not have the power to change anything, choose peace instead (the serenity prayer). Or, ask yourself: “Would this matter to me if I were facing death.”
- Create a mantra that will help you change your thinking: “Right now my inner peace is more important to me than this turmoil, and I am willing to let it go.” Notice how you feel. You might feel relieved and calm.
- Imagine your negative emotions and rigid thinking being lifted from your shoulders by a Power greater than yourself. (Once you release what felt like a part of your identity, you might even feel grief. Turn that over too.)
- Celebrate the small successes. They will inspire you to practice letting go and inviting more inner peace into your being.
Working with this letting go technique, I noticed that I had more energy to be productive and my body felt more relaxed. I went from thinking that I know what is best to letting it be what it is. Instead of being “right” or doing the “right” thing, I accept what is and go with the flow more often. I am making choices that support my desire for inner peace. I invite you to do the same.
When we have the courage to emotionally let go of the mindsets that we have identified with and the outcomes we would like to control, our perceptions and emotions shift. Facing our “own death” gives us an opportunity to look at life differently. With an open mind and heart, we are on our way to achieving radical inner peace. As we let go, grace enters and enables us to trust that all is evolving toward some greater good.
To live well longer, make inner peace a top priority in your life and be willing to “let go” more.
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