David R. Hawkins
Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender David R. Hawkins 2012
Great emotional energy (Letting Go)
Letting Go: Throughout history, mankind and most of the knowledge systems it has created – philosophy, literature, medicine, psychology – have been looking for the most effective way to rid a person of suffering. But more often than not, we find the causes of our suffering in the world around us and blame our dissatisfaction on people, places, social institutions, weather, fate, politicians, etc.
However, no external factor is capable of bringing us such suffering as our own negative emotions, especially those that have become the main background of existence, second nature. When faced with negative feelings, we resist and try to suppress them. We are so used to doing this that we often do not even notice how this happens, and gradually begin to resist any feelings at all.
Accumulated and repressed emotions contain energy that is constantly looking for an outlet and manifests itself through chronic stressful conditions and in the form of physical and psychological diseases.
But the quality of life and the ability to rejoice and be happy are lost even without direct diseases. After all, suppressed negative emotion becomes a kind of filter, glasses through which we look at reality.
David Hawkins’ practice of releasing negative emotions is notable for its simplicity, effectiveness, and lack of controversial rationale. We don’t just stop suppressing our feelings, freeing ourselves from them, we also stop resisting positive changes in our lives: we experience more love, and become more generous, kinder, and happier.
For a long time, it was believed that the recognition of emotions is the lot of the weak. Many generations of people have grown up with no understanding of exactly what emotions they feel and what to do with them. The method of recognition and subsequent work with emotions proposed in the book “Let go …” could become the basis for the formation of the psychological life of our and future generations. This is exactly what I would like to learn at school and then use it all my life.
Emotion containment mechanisms
We constantly struggle with our own negative emotions, seeking to get rid of the anxiety they cause us. We are afraid of emotions primarily because we do not have a way to live with them in peace. Suppressed emotions accumulate and move into the subconscious, where they are very difficult to recognize, but from where their action becomes even more destructive and less controllable. The most commonly used self-defense mechanisms against the unpleasant taste of negative emotions are:
• Suppression and displacement. This is the most common way in which we either consciously suppress our emotions or unconsciously repress them. The choice of feelings for suppression and repression at the same time completely depends on our conscious and subconscious attitudes, dictated by upbringing, cultural background, and norms of behavior accepted in society. In addition, other mechanisms of the work of our psyche, denial, and projection, take part in this process. Fear of our emotions and shame that we experience them lead to a denial of the very fact of their existence. And instead of experiencing these states, we project them onto the world around us and experience our feelings as if they belong to others, blaming them for our problems. It is the mechanism of projection that is behind most modern wars, manifestations of aggression and cruelty.
You are angry at a colleague for inattention. But it’s not good to be angry, and you’re supposed to be constructive at work. Therefore, this emotion is simply suppressed as unworthy.Letting Go
• Expression. In an effort to reduce the internal pressure caused by negative emotions, we try to express them – verbally, through body language, or through various actions. Freud’s misunderstood message has led many people to mistakenly believe in the healing power of expressing emotions. In fact, the expression of a feeling does not weaken its energy, but only strengthens it. In addition, expression drives out the remnants of emotion from consciousness and the ability to be aware of its presence and influence on us in the future.
After a hard day at work, when you find a mess in the house, you break down and yell at your daughter, who did not put away the toys. This simple expression of anger leads to a deeper level of negative emotion in the form of shame.Letting Go
• The escape. This mechanism allows you to avoid your own emotions through distraction. It is the escape mechanism that is the basis for the entertainment industry and the alcohol industry. All escape methods are inefficient and require a huge amount of energy to contain the growing emotional pressure. Gradually, this leads to the fact that we lose the ability to be creative, and interested in people, the level of our awareness decreases exponentially, and we stop in development. And some of the escape routes eventually lead to addictions, disease, and premature death.
The stress of the week and a lot of unpleasant conversations that entail unpleasant emotions, you tend to pour wine when going to a cafe with friends every Friday.Letting Go
Emotions and stress
The containment of emotions is closely related to the formation of a state of stress. Projection as a deterrent post-effect leads to the misconception that the main cause of unhappiness is external rather than internal factors.
Our willingness to respond to what is happening with fear depends on the amount of fear that already exists in us. That is, the more fear we have, the more likely it is that we will perceive the world as a frightening place and defend ourselves.Letting Go
In essence, a state of stress is a reaction to potential threats to our well-being (real or imagined). Even in a calm environment, we are exposed to internal chronic stress, as the emotional pressure we have accumulated throughout our lives is constantly looking for a way out. External factors only allow this energy to manifest itself.
In their work on the body’s response to stress 1, Dr. Hans Selye and Walter Cannon describe stress as a “general adaptation syndrome”: our body responds to a stressful stimulus through several stages:
• signal stage (or stage of alarm), where there is a release of stress hormones into the circulatory system, which prepares our body for fight or flight;
• the stage of resistance, in which the body tries to restore balance, including through hormonal changes and increased metabolism;
• and if the stimulus that caused the stress does not disappear – the stage of exhaustion, at which the adaptive potential of the body has already been exhausted: the immune system is depressed, and pathological changes begin in the organs due to prolonged exposure to stress hormones, leading to various diseases and death.
Research at the University of California in the 1980s shows a strong link between stress, immune suppression, and cancer. Regular stress depresses the immune system, reducing the brain’s ability to produce endorphins, also called “anti-cancer cells” for their ability to attack and kill young cancer cells. When the activity of the immune system is reduced, both the amount and activity of endorphins are reduced, which ultimately leads to the growth of cancerous tumors.Letting Go
A lot of research has been done on the nature of stress and a lot of work has been written, including pharmacological research. At the same time, one of the simplest and most effective practices that significantly reduce the degree of susceptibility to stress and leads to the elimination of many concomitant diseases is precisely the practice of recognizing and releasing suppressed emotions.
The effectiveness of the practice of releasing negative emotions and its positive impact on our body can be understood by the example of kinesiology 2 testing: the subject is pressed on the outstretched arm, and he resists with all his might. At the beginning, the level of muscle resistance is checked in a calm state, and then while thinking about an emotionally unpleasant situation. Test results show that in the process of negative thinking, muscle strength drops by about half.Letting Go
Practice letting go of negative emotions
The essence of this practice is to recognize and accept the feeling that has arisen in us, allowing it to flow freely, without trying to change or somehow influence it. As a result, inner pressure is relieved and we experience a sense of relief and release.
The practice of letting go of emotions has a positive impact on our lives on various levels:
• At the physical level, it helps to remove excessive tension from the autonomic nervous system 3, thus eliminating some of the causes of various physical and psychosomatic diseases.
• On a behavioral level, constantly reducing anxiety and eliminating negative emotions, helps to get rid of addictions (for example, alcohol or drugs) and increases the level of internal positive energy and quality of life.
• At the level of interpersonal relationships, our behavior changes – we become more loving, attentive, and understanding, and the number of conflicts we provoke decreases.
• At the level of consciousness (or spirituality), we begin to feel happier, calmer, and more satisfied with our own lives. We become more conscious and gain the ability to achieve inner realizations.
The process of letting go of emotions is simple, but there may be internal resistances along the way, which you should be prepared for.
The very practice of letting go is that we register, acknowledge, and allow ourselves to experience this or that emotion without changing, expressing, or condemning it in any way. In fact, all that is required of us at this stage is only to realize its presence (you can even mentally greet it by calling it: “Hello, fear” or “Good afternoon, anger, that’s what you are!” – and look like an impassive third-party observer).
At this stage, shame or guilt may arise for the presence of the emotion itself, the desire to “forget” it or “forget” to perceive it consciously. You may want to express an emotion. Remember that any resistance or manifestation only increases the energy of the emotion. In this case, all you have to do is keep watching: “I want to hide, I’m afraid of this emotion, I feel fear in my stomach, my heart clenched.”
As you go through this stage and keep practicing, you will learn to recognize more and more emotions, realizing how many of them have been avoided or suppressed. You also become aware of your own way (developed during your unconscious emotional life) of avoiding constructive work with emotions. (development potential) Whatever it is, it should not be condemned either, but only observed. It will dissipate by itself as unnecessary.
Anatomy of emotions
Our emotions are the oldest way to save a life. As in the animal world, many of our responses are “hardwired into the system” so deeply that even a changing environment and level of well-being do not lead to a correction of emotional reactions. We continue to fear for our lives, while our brain is focused on finding difficulties and dangers, and the nervous system is in a state of readiness to flee or join a fight.
If we suppress emotions, we thereby do not recognize their right to exist and the importance of their role. But the energy impulse in the form of emotion has already been received. How to use this energy? The easiest way to become aware of the emotion and integrate the energy that has arisen with it is to ask yourself “Why?”. Why, for what purpose did this or that emotion arise? This question can be asked over and over again as it moves us towards deeper and deeper causes until the first cause is discovered.
Everything around us radiates either positive or negative energy. Thanks to this energy, we intuitively understand the difference between positive (friendly, sincere) and negative (greedy, embittered) people.
People who are dominated by emotions of anger, fear, regret, or guilt will cause us to subconsciously avoid contact. And people who are dominated by feelings such as love and joy attract us.Letting Go
David Hawkins researched and created an energy scale 4 of all emotions, ranging from the lowest level, close to zero, to the highest, which is assigned a value of 1000 (for more details, see the book Strength Against Violence). At the very bottom of the scale is a shame (as a feeling of rejection of oneself, or self-destruction), and at the very top in the state of complete enlightenment, which was achieved, for example, by Jesus Christ or Buddha.
Experiencing low-level emotions, we exist in a negative world, which becomes the basis of our relationships, career life, and low level of self-satisfaction. Consistently letting go of negative feelings and emotions, we gradually move up the scale, thus changing the quality of our life.
Understanding what is behind this or that emotion will help us recognize its occurrence and use the practice of release more effectively.
• Shame (energy level 20) and guilt (energy level 30). These feelings are located at the very bottom of the scale of emotions and are closely related to each other.
The feeling of guilt implies not only the desire to be punished but also the desire to punish oneself, thus provoking a sense of shame for one’s actions. And feeling shame, a person can begin to show cruelty towards others, projecting hatred of himself onto them. Shame and guilt are one of the biggest obstacles to overcoming many negative states of mind. And the first step to liberation from them will be the understanding that we chose them ourselves and feel satisfaction from self-pity, resentment, and self-justification.
Being an innocent victim not only allows us to receive the sympathy of others, but also makes us feel vulnerable and helpless, the main components of apathy.Letting Go
• Apathy (energy level 50). Apathy is the conviction that we cannot change anything and there is no one to help us. From a biological point of view, apathy indicates a lack of vitality and the proximity to death, and its purpose is to call for help. In the process of letting go, it can manifest itself as resistance in the form of thoughts: “I can’t” or “I’m too depressed.” In most cases, behind these thoughts lies the fear that we will not be able to achieve the result.
Another significant cause of apathy is a previously transferred, but not worked out traumatic experience. We shape our visions of the future in anticipation of a repeat of the past, and often cannot forgive ourselves for not coping with these upheavals. But for our subconscious, there is no concept of “time”, so in fact, we can decide to heal our own past and let go of the emotional components of the experienced crisis at any moment.
• Grief (energy level 75). At this level, we experience such feelings as longing, sadness, regret, disappointment, sadness, etc. Unlike apathy, in a state of grief, we believe in the existence of someone who can help us, but we continue to believe that the whole world is turned against us. In most cases, we refuse to accept our own sadness, either out of fear that we won’t be able to bear it or out of pride.
The psychological basis of grief is attachment and addiction. In most cases, they arise from the fact that we consider ourselves inferior and are looking for people and things that can satisfy our inner needs. In the future, we identify them as “mine” and gradually begin to perceive them as an extension of our own “I”, and their loss as the loss of a part of ourselves. At the same time, it is important to understand that the feeling of loss is primarily preceded by the fear of losing. We defend this fear either by increasing the strength of the attachment or by using the mechanism of denial and rejecting the very thought of a possible loss.
In fact, grief is limited in time – if we do not resist it, after 10-20 minutes it will retreat for a while. Realizing this fact can give us the courage to acknowledge and let go of the shame of allowing our own feelings to surface and the fear of being held hostage by our own emotions. Through this, we will be able to live through this experience and move to the stage of acceptance, and then to the stage of calmness.
• Fear (energy level 100). Fear implies that we perceive the world around us and what is happening in it as a threat. Fear is the root of many negative emotions. If we want to get rid of this feeling, first of all, we need to understand that fear attracts exactly what we fear into our lives and tends to spread like a virus.
There are a huge number of fears that we can experience, including the fear of fear. But one of the most important fears that hinder our development is the fear of our own subconscious 5, which hides a huge number of dark thoughts and impulses that we do not want to admit.
• Desire (energy level 125). When we are freed from states of apathy, grief, and fear, we move to the level of desire. This state ranges from a slight need to an obsession and can be expressed in greed, envy, selfishness, etc. This feeling has huge stimulating power, but the ability to use it depends on how consciously we choose our needs. Often a passionate desire for something does not help but creates obstacles to achieving the goal. This happens because usually our desire is based on the thought “I don’t have it”. In this way, we create a psychological distance between us and the desired, which takes away our energy.
We have grown accustomed to living within the notion that success requires tremendous effort, sacrifice, and hard work. It seems to us that if we let go of our desire, we will not get anything. This fear blocks our ability to get what we want. In fact, by letting go of desire, we get a much greater choice: we are no longer limited by thoughts about what we do not have, and the indispensable implementation of what we have planned becomes unimportant. We understand that everything will be fine with us, even if our desire does not come true.
One way to get what you want is to write down your goal and let it go. This is exactly what the author did when he needed an apartment in New York. He wrote down what kind of apartment he would like and where it should be located, after which he let go of this desire. Literally the next day, he happened to be in the office of a real estate agency. After talking with the employee, he was surprised to learn that just an hour before that, the only apartment on the street he needed at a reasonable price was included in the list of housing for rent.Letting Go
Understanding the topic of glamor can facilitate the process of giving up desires 6. Often we are attracted not by the thing we want, but by the aura of glamor that surrounds it. And we may experience disappointment when we receive it, because of the discrepancy between this thing and our ideas about it.
This can happen for professional purposes as well. For example, we can work for years to achieve a status position, expecting to receive certain bonuses in the form of a luxurious office, an expensive car, subordinates, titles, etc. But, having taken this position, we find that all this does not really compensate for the efforts spent . We face even tougher competition, manipulation of others, etc. We are so exhausted that it affects all areas of our lives, including interpersonal relationships.Letting Go
Glamorization operates at the level of fantasy, so when we start letting go of desires, we also eliminate fantasy. And the less we romanticize the objects of our desires, the easier it is for us to give them up.
• Anger (energy level 150) and pride (energy level 175). The state of anger can range from mild irritation to furious rage and carries a huge amount of energy that we can use for our own purposes. However, we usually suppress our internal aggression by experiencing guilt and projecting it onto others. It is much more useful to view the energy of anger in a positive context – it can enhance our ambitions and actions.
We are angry and offended by our leader. If we suppress these feelings, sooner or later we will express them, and they will cause an uncomfortable situation. As a result, we may lose our jobs. But if instead we use anger for our own purposes, it can become an inspiration and a force that will help us realize a project or improve our skills, and ultimately bring benefits.Letting Go
A significant source of anger is pride, and vanity in particular. Pride leads to the fact that we are convinced that our way of life, actions, or thoughts is the only true one. We are focused on our own achievements, the desire to feel special, and the desire for recognition. Any phenomenon that gives us the illusion of a threat to recognition and our pride can lead to anger.
For example, during the negotiations, they responded to you in a negative way. The first reaction will be anger. But on reflection, you may find that you yourself recently offended this person by being too self-centered.Letting Go
In most cases, anger and pride indicate weakness and vulnerability. We take a defensive position, provoking others to attack. These emotions do not set us free but bind us within a negative pattern of life. And sometimes, in order for them to disappear, a simple willingness to recognize them in oneself and abandon them is enough.
• Courage (energy level 200). The energy of courage is characterized by the thought “I can!”. It is a state that gives us self-confidence and is of great importance in the process of releasing negative states of mind. We can say that this is a critical point, marking our internal transition from the area of negative energies to the area of positive ones. It is from this level that awareness begins to develop: we stop being afraid and ashamed of our own feelings, realizing that they are valuable and can be a source of recycled energy. From this point on, we give up the need to constantly defend ourselves and gain the ability to benefit from new experiences without fear of mistakes.
• Neutral state (energy level 250). Comfortable, relatively unemotional state, pragmatic willingness to accept things “as is”, without judgment, attempts to change, and competition.
• Readiness (energy level 310) and acceptance (energy level 350). At the level of acceptance, we have already let go of most of our negative feelings, and our way of perceiving the world has changed. We experience a sense of harmony and correctness in what is happening and are ready to support others. It is in a state of acceptance that we can forgive and let go of our own past and the grudges we have accumulated. We stop being afraid of the future, and that is what makes us free in the present. At this level, we take full responsibility for our lives and our consciousness.
Consider the process of moving from the level of apathy to higher levels of the scale of emotions on the following example: we need to speak in public. At the level of apathy, we say, “I can’t speak in public” or “No one wants to listen to me.” As we begin the process of freeing ourselves from this state, we will see that behind these statements is actually fear. We begin to realize that we have a desire to speak, which this fear interferes with. At this point, we may experience anger at ourselves for missed opportunities, which will give us the strength to change something: for example, enroll in public speaking classes. By doing this, we will advance to a level of courage that will lead us to accept the situation and the need for this speech. And acceptance will help overcome residual resistance and give us self-confidence.Letting Go
• Meaning (energy level 400). This form of energy distinguishes man from the whole living world. This is an opportunity to see and interpret phenomena in an abstract, generalized form, in the form of concepts. At this level, the search for the meaning of both the existence of the individual and the whole of humanity is realized. Science and philosophy are at this level.
• Love (energy level 500). One of the important implications of letting go is that in the process of releasing negative states of mind, our ability to love increases. We release a huge amount of energy and can transform it into a feeling of love, and the energy of love can heal both ourselves and those around us.
An important aspect of love is the ability to forgive, which allows us to perceive the events of our lives in terms of the good that they bring. At the same time, the concept of forgiveness implies that we still divide people and events into “right” and “wrong.”
• Joy (energy level 540). As the feeling of love grows in us, we begin to experience unconditional joy from our own existence and gradually refuse to divide into “black” and “white”. Our life and everything in it is filled with meaning, and the process of liberation becomes continuous. It is not a fleeting joy based on external sources that arise, but a deep joy of being, born from within.
• Peace (energy level 600). And gradually we can move to a state of calm, in which we completely stop experiencing situations of conflicts, both external and internal. At this level, a person can experience a state of enlightenment, complete harmony, and the absence of any effort and suffering. It is a state of oneness with all that exists beyond the limitations of separation and intellectual perception of the world. This is the state of awakening and enlightenment described in Buddhism. Unfortunately, very rare in the human world.
In the 80s of the last century, it was found that our thoughts are stored in memory in the form of feelings with which they are associated, and not facts at all. Thus, the ability to register and understand your feelings (rather than thoughts) is a much more important skill for developing awareness. One feeling or emotion can have literally a thousand thoughts attached to it. Thus awareness of the senses leads us to a shorter and more effective path to liberation. The process of developing the skill of awareness of feelings can be divided into three stages:
1. Simple observation. At this stage, it is important to learn how to simply detect feelings and emotions, to observe the connection between the thought and emotion that has arisen and vice versa.
2. Small experiments. Identifying recurring thoughts and becoming aware of the feelings and emotions associated with them. It requires registering and accepting the presence of the feeling, without resisting or suppressing its presence.
3. Feeling and releasing energy. We are not just aware of the feeling, we give it the right to be, we accept it until it exhausts itself. If we have been able to correctly identify, live, and let go of a feeling, the thoughts associated with it will simply dissolve and be replaced by the next stream waiting for attention.
Top 10 Thoughts
1. We are afraid of emotions primarily because we do not have a way to live with them in peace. Suppressed emotions accumulate and move into the subconscious, where they are very difficult to recognize, but from where their action becomes even more destructive and less controllable.
2. The most commonly used mechanisms of “self-defense” against negative emotions: are suppression and repression, expression, and escape. None of these methods allows you to use the energy inherent in the emotion or feeling constructive.
3. One of the simplest and most effective practices that significantly reduce exposure to stress and lead to the elimination of many associated diseases is the practice of recognizing and releasing repressed emotions.
4. The practice of letting go or releasing is that we register, acknowledge, and allow ourselves to experience this or that emotion or feeling without changing, expressing, or condemning it in any way.
5. David Hawkins researched and created an energy scale for all emotions. At the very bottom of this scale are feelings of shame and fear, and at the top are feelings of love and peace.
6. Courage is a critical point that marks our inner transition from the realm of negative energies to the realm of positive. It is from this level that awareness begins to develop: we stop being afraid and ashamed of our own feelings, realizing that they are valuable and can be a source of recycled energy.
7. One of the important implications of letting go is that in the process of releasing negative states of mind, our ability to love increases. We release a huge amount of energy and can transform it into a feeling of love, and the energy of love can heal both ourselves and those around us.
8. Consistently letting go of negative feelings and emotions, we gradually move up the emotional-energetic scale, thus changing the quality of our life.
9. The ability to register and understand your feelings, not thoughts, is an important skill for developing awareness and moving up the scale.
10. Starting with a simple observation of emotions and feelings, through the formation of an understanding of the connection between thoughts and emotions, we form the skill of accepting, living, and releasing the energy inherent in any of our feelings.
1 . Stress hormones include cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones help us survive by suppressing lesser body functions in favor of more important ones for normal functioning.
2 . Kinesiology is a scientific discipline that studies muscle movement in all its manifestations.
3 . The autonomic nervous system is a department of the nervous system that regulates the activity of internal organs, endocrine and external secretion glands, blood, and lymphatic vessels.
4 . You can read more about the scale of emotions, its connection with the level of awareness, and scientific justification in the book by David Hawkins “Power vs. Violence: The Hidden Motives of Human Actions”.
5 . Subconscious. Carl Jung called this area of our consciousness, the existence of which we tend to ignore, the “shadow”, arguing that the “I” cannot become whole and healed until we see and acknowledge our own “shadow”.
6 . Glamor is an aesthetic phenomenon based on the culture of mass consumption and associated with fashion and show business. The worldview of glamor is characterized by an emphasis on luxury and outward brilliance. This topic is covered in great detail in Alice Bailey’s Glamour: The World’s Problem (1950).