David R. Hawkins’ way of letting go of feelings
You’re not dealing well with difficult feelings? You don’t have to – let them be and they will go away on their own. At least that’s the case according to David R. Hawkins, a popular American psychiatrist and the author of the book „Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender”.
How to deal with difficult feelings?
The issue of dealing with difficult feelings is widely discussed in self-help literature. Among many methods recommended by coaches and psychologists, there are some that stand out because of their unique way of approaching the problem.
An example of such a unique technique is the one developed by the psychiatrist David R. Hawkins. Unlike other methods, which often are based on one’s will to fight negative emotions, the method of letting go recommends full acceptance of those feelings. Paradoxically, that makes it easier to clean your thoughts and get back the control over yourself.
What are feelings?
To understand the method of letting go developed by Hawkins, one has to also understand his way of comprehending feelings. According to Hawkins, feelings come from the basic need of survival. The human body strives to achieve its goals, motivated by feelings. If we didn’t feel fear of danger, discomfort caused by hunger, or other negative emotions, there would be no way of surviving. That is why the base of emotions are the primal instincts. And emotions are earlier than thoughts – they’re their base. What’s important is that feelings can be an abbreviation of thoughts, their roots, in a way.
Long story short – Emotions are Ahead of thoughts. Thoughts are only rationalisations of external experiences. Here’s an example: imagine meeting your neighbour in the stairway. You greet them with a “good morning”. The neighbour doesn’t answer you, so you make a snarky remark, surprising even yourself that you are capable of such a reaction.
The anger caused by the neighbour’s silence didn’t really come from the circumstances alone. It was there before, but the situation turned out to be the perfect excuse to let it out. You may think you are angry at the neighbour (that’s rationalisation), but the real reasons behind the anger are different. It’s a bottled up feeling that may have really been there for a long time.
Why isn’t intellect enough?
Reading the contemplations above, one may come to the conclusion that since thoughts are caused by feelings, intellectual divagations won’t really change much there. The alternative to that is to let go of the bad feelings. If you are able to let go of a bad feeling, then – according to Hawkins – all the Bad thoughts associated with it will disappear as well. What’s more, after letting go of a bad feeling, a good feeling will come in its place, letting you to better develop your potential.
How to let go of feelings?
Firstly, realise what kind of feelings are the problem. Don’t try to repress it – on the contrary, validate it. Don’t name it or alter it, accept it. That way you will free the energy cumulated in the unpleasant feelings. Don’t try to fight it, let go of resistance. Try not to focus on the thoughts, but instead on the feeling alone. Thoughts are only just rationalisations.
The mind seeks the answer to the question why you feel one way and not another and tries to analyse various reasons that often don’t bring anything. After some time, the energy associated with a feeling weakens, and peace comes in its place. Sounds too easy? Yet for many years Hawkins has used this technique on his patients in his therapeutic work.
Your inner resistance may make it difficult for you to let go of feelings. Don’t try to fight it, allow it to fully come out. When you let yourself to be so free, the resistance will most likely weaken, just like all the other unpleasant feelings.