How can we permanently let go of unhelpful subconscious patterns?
What is necessary to feel abundant once and for all?
On Letting Go and Transforming From Within — Part 5:
This is the fifth and final part of the series “On Letting Go and Transforming From Within”.
In the fourth part, we got familiar with the sub- and unconscious parts of our mind to understand where feelings of lack and not being good enough come from.
In this final part, we will achieve permanent inner transformation by getting familiar with the experiences repressed into the subconscious mind and letting go of what still holds us back on this deeper level.
Identifying the Subconscious
As repressed past experiences lay at the bottom of the subconscious, it is necessary to become aware of them again to be able to let them go.
But how can you identify and become aware again of what you’re currently not consciously aware of?
What if you don’t remember the event that caused the current belief about yourself and about what is acceptable and what is not?
This is where intensive self-reflection comes into play. Reflecting on your life in the present as well as in the past.
The following five points serve as a starting point, from which you can get step-by-step closer to the repressed experiences.
A good starting point is to think back and reflect upon your childhood.
Who did you spend the most time with? What was your environment? Your social circle? Who were your teachers and friends?
What was accepted and what wasn’t?
What were the values of your family and surroundings?
Which emotions and behavior were encouraged, what was not allowed and for what were you punished?
2. Recurring Patterns
Look for recurring patterns throughout your life. Very often are these symptoms of repressed experiences.
Are you always bailing out when a relationship gets serious?
Are you consistently self-sabotaging your career success and change jobs all the time?
Once you have a series of events that keep happening to you, track them back to the first time these things start to happen. This will lead you to the source, the repressed experience.
3. Getting Triggered
You are “getting triggered” anytime you react emotionally in a way that seems way out of proportion.
This could be getting really angry, really scared, really self-conscious…
These emotional reactions are signs that the situations you are currently experiencing are similar to a repressed experience.
It is an attack by what Eckhart Tolle calls the pain-body, the repressed parts of your unconscious.
The pressure gets too strong and repressed experiences pop back up.
This is an opportunity to become aware of them again and where they were coming from.
Make it a habit to become fully aware when you’re triggered.
For that, you need mindfulness and the ability to distance yourself from your impulses, which takes time and regular practice to be able to respond adequately to these triggers.
Ask yourself, “Why am I reacting that why? Because of which situation in the past have I become conditioned to react that way?”
You can also trigger yourself on purpose by deliberately putting yourself in situations that you feel are unacceptable, uncomfortable or that you fear.
This could be public speaking, doing some form of comfort zone challenges, or even hanging out with members of your family that you don’t have a good relationship with.
Every time you feel the urge to do something to distract yourself from being present with yourself, this is escapism.
This could be checking your phone, eating, drinking, watching movies, smoking, socializing…
Of course, these things are not bad per se, but take on the function of escapism if you use them out of desperation to run away from something.
Be aware of signs of escapism. Similarly to when you get triggered, distance yourself from these impulses, go into yourself and ask:
What it is that you’re running away from?
What were escape-mechanisms during childhood?
This will allow you to develop awareness about the source of escapism.
What do you fear most?
Being alone, abandoned, not being loved, not getting approval, not fulfilling your potential, not being safe?
Why is it that you fear that?
Follow the trails of why and go deeper. Where are these fears coming from?
You can only do that if let go of the resistance to feeling these emotions.
With the words of Eckhart Tolle:
“Practice non-resistance to whatever is.”
This will allow you to become aware of the source of these fears, which are repressed experiences.
If you struggle with doing this freestyle type of self-reflection, there is an alternative that guides you through these points.
This technique is called “Sentence Completion Work”, developed by psychotherapist Nathaniel Branden.
With this technique, you are given incomplete sentences — sentence stems — which have to be completed with several different endings.
This gets you into a trance-like state and allows to become aware of repressed experiences again. For more details check out the article I wrote specifically about this topic.
Permanently Letting Go
Once identified and brought back into awareness, how to let go of these repressed experiences?
The three steps from the third part of this series still apply, with some small differences:
1. Be Aware Of What You Want To Let Go Of
Once you have identified what you want to let go of - the repressed experience - recall that experience, be with it and focus on the sensations that start to appear in your body.
As with every plunge into the subconscious, there will be a lot of resistance to it. The focus is on letting go of the resistance to feel those emotions and sensations again.
It takes time and repetition to plow through this resistance. Don’t rush or force it. Be ok with the sensations the subconscious offers you at the moment. It's layers of resistance that you have to let go of one at a time.
Ask yourself, “What's the worst thing that could happen if I let go of that layer of resistance?”
Be patient, aware, accept what comes up and then go through the following steps.
Also, even if you are not able to relive the repressed event, you can still let go of it by focusing on the sensations which are brought up by your subconscious.
In general, it is important to be in a distraction-free and safe environment to signal yourself that it’s ok to tune into those seemingly unsafe experiences and be vulnerable. You can be alone while some people do it with people they trust.
A helpful technique is to imagine that you have roots growing from your feet into the ground. They make you grounded and give you the feeling that it’s OK to let go and that you’re secure.
2. Allow Yourself To Experience Fully
Once you keep digging and you consciously realize that it's safe to break through, there will be a tipping point when the repressed experiences take over. This can include strong feelings like shaking, heavy breathing or even crying.
Don’t resist them, let these sensations run their course, just like in the release based meditation.
There is nothing to do, no label, judging nor changing. Just be aware of these sensations and experience them fully.
Develop an acceptance of the pain, relief will come afterward. There are no sensations that can’t be transformed.
3. Let Them Come Up And Let Them Out
Once you have experienced these sensations fully and have allowed them to run their course, you can allow them to leave.
Conscious breathing as described in the third part of this series can be helpful to let go.
When you feel you have let go, take a deep breath and you will start to feel relieved.
You could still feel hurt or angry, but there should be some relief.
It is certainly possible and normal to not let go of everything at once, but you will make progress and experience relief one step at a time.
To facilitate becoming aware of repressed experiences check out “The Art of Self Discovery” by Nathaniel Branden, where he explains his technique “sentence completion work”.
For further insights on how to surrender the resistance to being with negative emotions, check out “Letting Go” by David Hawkins.
For further insights on developing mindfulness and presence to withstand impulses of escapism and resistance, check out “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle.
This concludes the series “On Letting Go and Transforming From Within”.
A question we might ask is:
“How long does it take?”
We should be careful with questions like these. If you’re viewing letting go as something to achieve, then you remain stuck in scarcity, because you are trying to escape something.
You are already there, you already made it.
Letting go is stopping to reach a goal. By giving up to trying to make it you actually made it.
Letting go is accepting everything. Even enlightenment is not perfection. Perfection is letting go of perfection.
Therefore, letting go is not a goal, it is rather a way of life.
Make it a habit to tune into your body, and let go of the resistance to let all your sensations and feelings run their course. By that, you will let them go.
It’s not a means to get somewhere, but rather a time for yourself to reconnect with the state of abundance, that already is and always will be within you.
And this is how you let go and transform from within.