My father’s passing was a very difficult time in my life. In this article I will share 5 meditations for letting go that helped me at that time.
There have been many times in my life when I have chosen to use meditation for letting go.
The most recent time when I really needed to let go was following my father’s death last year.
My father’s death was a shock and was the end of a somewhat turbulent relationship. My father had always been two things. One, a loving family man. And two, an alcoholic. Those two completely opposite aspects of his personality led to a war in my mind. When he died I was sad, angry, despondent, exhausted… I experienced so many thoughts, from “It’s my fault” (though Lord knows how that could ever be the case) to “He’s abandoned me” to “I miss him and I love him.”
There were so many thoughts, my mind sunk like a ship in stormy tides, and I plummeted to the depths.
Thankfully I am fortunate to have a loving family, and they helped pick me up.
But there was one thing I needed to do for myself: I needed to release my suffering.
I needed to let go of painful memories and move on.
And I need to find inner peace.
Meditation helps me to let go and move on so I could look back happily, no longer in the midst of grief and sorrow.
When It Hurts To Let Go, Meditation Helps
If you’ve experienced the passing of a beloved family member, you’ll understand the need to let go, the need to move on.
Though it hurts to move on, the truth is that that is precisely what they would want. And, that is what we should want for ourselves. We should want to move on.
The same is true for broken relationships.
We need to let go.
If the sun has set on a once blossoming relationship; if that relationship is now in shadow; then it is time to move on in the light of day, time to let go, time to face the next chapter of life.
At times like that you need to let go, perhaps to forgive, and move on.
Buddhism teaches us that life is impermanent and we cannot cling on
Wherever we look in life there is this process. There is finding, experiencing, and then letting go.
We find a new job. We enjoy the job. But inevitably the time will come when we move on from that job.
And so with love.
We find love, we experience love, but the time comes when we must let go.
And for our kids too. We have children. We nurture them. But the time comes when they must be let go.
The moments of life come like breath. We inhale. We let that moment, that breath, fill our being. But then we must let go. Only by letting go of one breath can we experience the next.
To hold on to one breath is to suffocate. Because the body needs fresh oxygen. And so too do the mind and spirit.
We need to breathe in. We need to experience. We need to let go. That is the three-pronged wheel of life.
But at times we get caught on one of those prongs. Sometimes we are caught on finding new things. We go from one job to the next, or from one person to the next, constantly wanting to experience more and more and more.
At other times we are stuck in one experience. Perhaps we’re tapped in a relationship that is no longer healthy and positive. Perhaps we’re no longer enjoying our jobs but we feel trapped in them, as though there’s no way we could possibly leave.
And finally, at times we hold on to something that has already past. I held onto my father. I found it very difficult to let him go.
But I know I must.
Emotions are as quick sand. There comes a time when you know you need to get out, but the more you fight the more trapped you become. Soon you will be stuck in a rutt.
You can’t fight to let go, because when you make yourself fight something you are giving that something control over yourself.
Trying to let go of emotional pain by fighting is akin to trying to get rid of a scab by scratching at it. You’re only going to make matter worse.
You cannot fight to let go. You cannot let go by gripping tighter. You must loosen your grip. You must accept reality. This acceptance is one of the main points of Buddhism. We must stop fighting. We must accept.
To accept, we have to let go. Meditation helps.
Past experiences haunt our existence like a smear on the retina of the conscious mind. We focus on the past experience, on what has been lost, and prevent ourselves from seeing the present moment. This is only going to lead to more harm. We need instead to focus on the present moment. This will clean the consciousness of its smear and allow us to live free from the ghosts of past experience.
The only way to let go of the past is to focus on the now. That’s where meditation comes in. By focusing the mind on the present moment, meditation helps us let go off the past.
There are many fabulous meditations for letting go, all of which will help you to move on. Following at 5 of the best.
3 Best Meditations For Letting Go
1: Breathe in new oxygen
The first and maybe the best of all meditation for letting go, is a breathing meditation.
The oxygen in your mind has become old and stale. It’s time to breathe in some fresh air. Literally. The best type of meditation for letting go is to meditate on your breath. If you would like to know how to do this, read my guide to Anapanasati meditation.
2: Candle meditation
Another of the best meditations for letting go is a candle meditation.
Candle meditations are a powerful way of focusing the mind. And because of the symbolism of the candle itself, they also help us to move on. One very powerful way to use a candle meditation for letting go is to get a candle which is almost out or wax. Here’s how:
- Get a candle that is almost out of wax
- Make sure there’s enough wax to last for around twenty minutes.
- Now go to a dark room and tell yourself that you will spend the next twenty minutes meditating on the candle and that when the candle dies you will be set free from the past.
- Focus your gaze on the candle.
- Repeat the mantra “With the flame I release you” (referring to the thing you are holing on to)
- Meditate on the candle until it is out.
- Say, “It is done.” Visualise letting go and moving on.
- Express gratitude for this meditation.
3: Taoist Meditations
Taoist meditation techniques are all about letting go.
Often, at times of moving on there is some pent up anger or resentment. When my father died part of med was angry at him. But that anger doesn’t help. My father deserves to be remembered in loving memory and I deserve peace. And it is the same for you.
Taoist meditation helps to remove any negative feelings and to create complete acceptance and love. This allows you to move on in the right way.
I’ve written a free guide to Taoist meditations. I hope you find it useful.
It is a challenge to move on. The past has a way of haunting the mind, like shadows. But when consciousness focuses on the present moment, the light of day shatters the darkness and allows you to rise once more.
I hope these five meditations for letting go help youas they helped me.