If we were all asked to raise our hands if we’re holding onto worries of the past, I think almost the whole world would have their arms stretched upwards. A select few—the Dalai Lama, Eckhart Tolle…a few hidden “fully enlightened” individuals might dodge the hand-raising. Maybe. Yet, even those of us who do attain a highly evolved spiritual state will encounter grievances as a natural part of life and the human condition. Life is a constant process of letting go.
This week’s Monday Mindfulness is about taking one concern, ideally something you’re holding onto from the past, and surrendering it to the Universe (or the Highest Power you believe in). This works no matter your denomination, since all you need to do is visualize the worry leaving you, even if this is just out to the empty space beyond our planet.
You may want to begin this exercise with some lighter material, focusing on a small concern rather than on something monumental. Give up the worries about a colleague that said something which irked you. Let go of a bitter comment a stranger threw at you. Maybe surrender a minor fear of yours. Once you get the hang of the practice, you can move into the deeper stuff!
It might sound impossible that a single exercise could allow you to forgive the past, but if you give this your all, you’ll be amazed at the results. Visualization is powerful, and believing that it could work amplifies this power even more. Here’s how you can easily work on letting go:
The Surrendering Meditation
- Settle yourself into a comfortable position, maybe doing some deep breathing, closing your eyes, or doing whatever else you need to in order to create a safe meditative place for yourself.
- First picture a worry, past pain, or grievance that you have. Instead of just labeling it, feel it. How does it affect you? Where does heaviness sit in your body? Does it drain your energy or make you feel poorly? Get to know the worry well.
- Now take a second and indulge in the idea of life without this worry. You don’t have to permanently erase it right now, but get creative with your imagination. What would it feel like? How would you feel more liberated? Would you have more energy?
- Return back to a present state, acknowledging the worry but not fully focusing on it like you did two steps before.
- Imagine a bright light, God, space—your chosen Highest Power (referred to as “Source” from now on). Tell yourself that this Source can fully and compassionately absorb your worry, as long as you do the sole job of handing it over.
- Reaffirm that your only job is to hand your concern over to this Source. Say that as many times as you need until you believe that it is all you need to do to free yourself from the worry and end up in the state you imaginatively pictured earlier.
- Thank the worry or concern for how it has served you in the past. It did, in a moment in time, have a purpose, but that purpose has long past. Tell the concern that it is time for it to leave you.
- Now visualize placing this worry into the Source you see before you. Feel a sense of love and even gratitude at your act, as there is a willingness for it to be absorbed into this expansive being or Source.
- Fully let it go. You might picture throwing it, or continuing to place pieces that cling around into the Source. Maybe you bathe yourself in light and let the energy fully sweep the worry out and away from you. If it doesn’t all leave in one gesture, don’t give up, keep pushing pieces of it into the Source. Even if you can’t get it all out, you still surrendered a lot and this can and will positively affect you.
- Imagine the worry drifting away and being swallowed by the Source in front of you. Feel it fully separate from you, never to return again. For this moment, completely trust this.
- Thank both the Source and the worry for leaving. Remember how you felt after you imagined the worry gone and tell yourself that this is a completely achievable state now. Although sometimes emotion arises during this exercise, in the coming day, you may start to feel the joy of no longer carrying this burden.
- Take a second to breathe, wiggle your fingers and toes, and come back to your daily consciousness. Remember that this wonderful feeling of one less burden on your shoulders will continue to stay with you!
This practice can be applied in many ways. Some use it as a way to cope with grief, letting go of attachment to a place, person, or animal. Others will use it explicitly to handle feelings of anger, letting the concerns go so they can more compassionately approach the situation. You can change any interpretation of a situation, part of your ego, belief, or expression of emotion through this exercise. Over this next week, try a few ways of using it and see what feels the best for you!
I’d strongly suggested having a tangental practice of journaling during this week of Monday Mindfulness, if you do try this meditation. It’s good to record how you feel after, and you might need to process the change in your internal landscape as you work with this practice. Journaling is a great tool for this!
Although it’s surprisingly rare with this exercise, it is worth noting that sometimes worries will crop back up. If you have a pesky concern, just continue doing the exercise! Eventually your body, mind, and whole self will get the clue and give up holding onto the worry. Sometimes this meditation provides instant results, sometimes they trickle down from our higher selves after a few days of processing.
Please don’t hesitate to leave your thoughts, feedback, or experiences in the comment section of this blog. I would love to hear about the impact this meditation has made on you.