Yesterday, I watched two David Hawkins videos [1, 2] on fear, which made me get his letting go method even on a deeper level.
We might know something on an intellectual level. That idea might resonate with us. We might even use it in real life.
Then, there are moments when we get the same idea on a gut level. We feel it so deep that it becomes our second nature.
This discussion reminds me of the four levels of learning. On the third level, we need to make a conscious effort to use a certain skill like driving a car. On the fourth level, it’s almost automatic.
Even though I read, wrote, and listened about the letting go method countless times, there are still moments when I discover something new. Watching the two videos above was such a moment.
Even though there is so much self-help content out there, we don’t come across the letting go method often. That’s why I’m trying to promote the work of David Hawkins to the extent I can.
Since I don’t come across the letting go method that often, I might be forgetting about it in time and need to refresh my mind once in a while. That’s a part of the learning and retention process called the spaced repetition method.
Keeping a personal knowledge base and reading it often helps it too. My blog is kind of a personal knowledge base for me.
Let’s get into the topic in the title, becoming fearless. Fear, like all other emotions, has some effects on our body.
The letting go method involves not paying attention and investing mental energy into the thoughts that stem from a feeling like fear. That means if you feel fear, don’t express it. Don’t even label it as “fear.”
That doesn’t mean suppressing the feeling. When you suppress a feeling, you resist it. You try not to feel it. This usually happens by tensing muscles in your body. The antidote of suppressing, therefore, is relaxing the muscles that you tense when you feel a certain feeling.
When you release the tension in your muscles when you feel a certain feeling, the intensity of that feeling will increase at the beginning, but as you get used to it, the intensity will decrease and eventually vanish.
It’s possible that new waves of the same feeling will come back, over and over. As you keep using the letting go technique, the magnitude of those waves will decrease, and eventually, they’ll disappear altogether.
Expressing, labeling, and suppressing emotions like fear make those feelings stick in our psyche. There’s one more behavior that prevents us from letting go of unwanted feelings. That behavior is escaping.
When you escape an emotion like fear, it stays in your psyche. You don’t find the opportunity to face and process that emotion.
We are meant to face and process our emotions. That’s how we grow as human beings. Escaping our emotions keeps us from growing.
When I was a kid, I was afraid of cats. As I grew, I got used to cats and started to love them, but I had to face my fear first. If I kept escaping cats, I’d never overcome my fear. You might find that funny, but how about your fears? For example, are you afraid of public speaking? Are you escaping it?
We don’t escape our feelings directly. Sometimes, we escape them indirectly. When we feel anxiety, we get a drink, we check our devices, or we eat comfort foods. Those are all different ways of escaping from unpleasant emotions. They keep us from processing and letting go of unwanted feelings.
So far, we have seen that expressing, labeling, suppressing, and escaping our emotions don’t help us overcome them. How can we overcome them then? What is the letting go method?
The letting go method involves staying with the physical sensations of the emotions while not paying attention to the thoughts that stem from those emotions.
Suppose that you feel public speaking anxiety. First of all, don’t even label it as performance anxiety, fear, or using another term. Second, don’t pay attention or invest more energy into all the disaster scenarios that your mind comes up with.
Just focus on the physical sensations in your body. Can you stay with a dry mouth, weak legs, and sweaty underarms? I bet you can. We all go through greater physical challenges than those physical sensations. Simply, allow those sensations to be there.
Are a dry mouth, weak legs, and sweaty underarms a problem for you? I bet they aren’t. So, public speaking causes dry mouth, weak legs, and sweaty underarms, so what? Just stay with those sensations, and after a while, they’ll vanish.
You can let go of any irrational emotion using the letting go method, including all the irrational fears you have.
What kind of a life would you have if you let go of all of your irrational emotions?
Software developer with a Ph.D. and 15 years of experience. I write daily on personal development and life lessons. Sign up to my email newsletter to receive a weekly overview of my latest content on personal development and life lessons.