The Art Of Letting Go
You’ve probably heard of the well known Twelve Step slogan, reminding us to “Let go and let God”. Well, mindfulness, an ancient form of meditation, is all about letting go. It could in fact be called “the art of letting go”. Mindfulness is about being able to let go of your worry about the future and your obsessions about past actions. It’s not about judging them. It’s more about becoming aware that you are having thoughts that keep you from living fully in the present moment. When you let go of these unhelpful thoughts, you are free to focus on what is happening for you in the present moment. As a result, you can become more authentic, and live a deeper, richer, more satisfying life. Mindfulness and letting go can be difficult at first, but with determined and repeated practice bring peace of mind and peace of heart.
Relax: Nothing Is Under Control
There is a funny cartoon of a Buddhist monk sitting in the lotus position, saying “Relax: Nothing is under control!” This just about sums up the truth of our human existence: we really are not in control. When your life gets out of control and you experience a sense of absolute powerlessness, the silver lining is that you have a chance to surrender to your powerlessness, and at the same time, to your Higher Power, whatever or however you perceive that to be. In that moment of powerlessness you can reach out and ask for help for your addiction. In that moment, recovery is possible.
Accept The Things You Cannot Change
Recovery according to the Twelve Step program, is what we offer here at Serenity Vista for addiction recovery and rehab. It has many parallels with the ancient art of mindfulness and letting go. For example, take the line from the Serenity Prayer, “Accept the things you cannot change.” This may be about letting go of what happened in the past or what you cannot control in the future. By the same token, you cannot control other people, either. To put it another way, you can only control yourself and your responses. Mindfulness and letting go, which is also a form of meditation, allows you to stay focussed on your own process of recovery. It helps you become conscious of your own patterns of distorted thinking. Simultaneously it helps you become aware of the present moment, the only moment we have.
How To Practise Mindfulness and Letting Go
Here is a simple exercise to get you started with your practice of mindfulness:
- Tell your “monkey mind” to focus on the breath
- Next, notice the breath in, the cool air coming in through your nostrils
- Then, notice the breath out, the warm air coming out through the nostrils
- Repeat five times
- As you do this, become aware, in the same fashion, of the sounds around you. Notice the sounds of your own breathing, of cars passing by your window, or the pattering rain
- Become aware of your bodily sensations, any aches and pains, or a sensation of relaxing as you focus.
To sum up, then, mindfulness is a very useful tool to have in your recovery toolkit. Whether it’s to support your drug and alcohol rehabilitation, to help you quit smoking, or to develop healthier relationship skills, as a result of consistent practice, you will notice the benefits.