When you are in the ‘seat of consciousness’, you get to witness your emotions.
How do you ‘let go’?
You hear about it and read about it all the time. Letting go- of emotions, of fears, of ‘limiting beliefs’ (Note: you won’t be aware they are limiting beliefs; to you they are just beliefs until you realise that they are what have been limiting you!), of negative thought patterns, anything that is holding you back and keeping you stuck.
A comment on one of my social media posts the other day made me realise that yes, people are aware of this wonderful notion – that to move forward we need to let go of those things – but actually identifying what they are and then how you actually go about the ‘letting go’ of them is another thing. That can be complicated. So I said I would address that particular point! Are you ready?!
How to identify those beliefs you need to let go of.
As I have mentioned, we are not aware that a particular thought or belief is holding us back until our discomfort is so much that it pushes our awareness to wake up and start paying attention!!! A belief is something that we accept as truth, without evidence. That is why they can have so much of a hold over us. If we believe it to be true why would we question it?
Well, if you are feeling stuck, then now is time to question things! It starts with awareness. Being aware that you are feeling stuck, feeling like you are “wading through treacle”, that you “can’t see the wood for the trees”, that there is a” fog that you can’t see through”- all of these things are regularly said by my clients to describe that feeling of being stuck and not being able to move forward. The lucky thing is, if you are feeling that way, you will quickly become aware of it! So the awareness will come to you anyway because of how you are feeling, and that is the first step done! Hurrah.
Once you are aware of this feeling, then you need to start asking questions.
Imagine you are a detective trying to gather as much detail as possible on the crime. The crime is you being stuck and all the unpleasant feelings that come along with that: frustration, sadness, guilt, anger, deflation, fear and so on. So you question these feelings.
Top tip: try not to ask yourself why questions- a why question makes us feel defensive, like we have to justify ourselves and because our brain has a job to do it will go and find you answers.
For example if you ask ‘why am I feeling stuck?’ then your brain will go and find you lots of reasons to support why you might feel that way, and they might not be helpful. They might be beliefs again: “because you don’t know what you are doing”, “because you aren’t clever enough”, “because you aren’t cut out for running a business”. So ask yourself open questions that start with what, when, where, how, who. “What is making me feel stuck?” might sound similar, but it is softer and will bring you different answers. “Where is that feeling coming from?” “When did I start feeling like that?” “How could I feel differently?” “Who could I learn from?” “Where can I get some help?” These are just some examples of questions you can use.
Top tip: Write down your answers. Ask the question in your mind and allow the answers to free flow on to paper. The act of writing your answers down can really help them to stop circulating in your head. Getting them out and seeing them in writing helps to organise the thoughts and highlights what stories you might be telling yourself and what narrative you might be following.
Keep asking. Keep digging.
It can be tough to get to the core belief, but by asking lots of questions you will get there, and when you do, you will know. It will probably hit you like a big realisation. We call these ‘aha’ moments!
Top tip: Ask this great question to each thought you discover- “Is this a fact or is this a belief?” and/or “Whose thought is this?” This will really help to uncover which beliefs (and who’s they are) you have been repeating as truths and shine some light on them.
So you have been a really good detective, you have asked lots of open questions and you have fact checked the answers.
You have the unhelpful belief, fear, thing that is holding you back. You know what it is. Great. How on earth do you let it go? You have been nurturing this baby for years!!!
Okay- here is the answer which is both really simple and really hard all at the same time.
You simply choose to let it go. That is it! Ta dar!
Now I know that it really isn’t that easy to do, or certainly doesn’t feel that easy to do and this is where I will say some things that some people won’t like to hear, but ultimately yes, it is as simple as choosing to let it go.
Some people don’t like to hear this next bit because it means taking full responsibility; for how you are feeling, for where you are, for why things are not as you would like them to be. When I suggest that it is not down to anyone else, that can feel tough. Especially when it comes to situations where people are in a certain place because of something that happened TO them. I am not saying there is no ‘fault’ but I am saying that you are responsible for right now. You might not have been in control of everything that has happened to you, but you do get to choose where you put your focus and how you move forward.
Specifically for this post we are talking about holding on to certain emotions, fears, perhaps blame and other emotions that are keeping you stuck where you are.
However, look at the flip side of that- if you are wholly responsible, it means you are in charge! You get to decide where you want to be and you get to get you there because you make the decisions. And those decisions include letting go of the ‘stuff’ that is holding you back.
So back to the ‘how’ of doing that.
I know that there is going to be some resistance showing up to the fact that I say it is a choice. Stay with me for a moment. Yes it is a choice, but it is not a one-off choice. You do not decide to let it all go and puff, it is gone. It takes work. Building a continuous habit to consciously choose to let it go and this will take a different amount of time depending on how long you have been holding on to each particular thought/belief.
In his book The Untethered Soul, (which is fabulous by the way and a must read if you are interested in understanding ‘who’ we really are!) Michael Singer talks about being in the ‘seat of disturbance’ and the ‘seat of consciousness’. When we are in the ‘seat of disturbance’ that is when we are drowning in those painful or negative thoughts and emotions. Being consumed by them. Repeating stories in our head. Giving them our time, attention and focus. We keep them alive by giving them our focus and we cannot let them go when we are there.
“Feed me Seymour!”
It sort of reminds me of Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors who feeds off the blood and flesh of humans. (Am I showing my age?!) The plant, being the main feature of the show, gets so much attention and grows bigger and bigger and ultimately ‘wins’ (don’t want to give too much away!). Had Seymour (the owner of the plant that kept feeding her) just acknowledged her presence but refused to give in to her demands and feed her, she would have eventually withered and gone. The more he chose to ignore her the smaller she would have become and the easier to ignore until she was no more.
Perhaps that was a stretch for a comparison, but you get my point. Our thoughts can demand our attention like that. Sometimes they can be so loud it can be nearly impossible to ignore them. In those moments you have an Audrey II in your head!
You might be thinking, “I am not consumed by these thoughts all the time, they just crop up occasionally”. Well that is great! However any time you are with those thoughts, those little voices in your head, that is when you are in the ‘seat of disturbance’. You might not realise you were there until you come out of it. It is like when you are watching a film at the cinema (remember that?!) and you get so absorbed in the movie that you forget your surroundings. That is what happens when you join your thoughts. You don’t realise you are not consciously aware of your surroundings (out of your ‘seat of consciousness’) until the lights come back on and you realise that you weren’t.
When you are in the ‘seat of consciousness’, you get to witness your emotions.
You see them for what they are, thoughts, feelings, false beliefs. You acknowledge them and allow them but you choose to let them pass. To flow through you instead of getting stuck within you. You are aware of them as they come and go, but you make a conscious decision not to join them.
All the thoughts and feelings we have are completely normal and absolutely okay to feel. That is the experience of being human. However all those thoughts and feelings are just experiences in themselves, they are not ‘us’. Although it might sound odd, it would be more accurate to say “I am experiencing sadness” or “I am experiencing fear” than it is to say “I am sad” or “I am afraid”. It removes you from the attachment of that emotion and therefore the hold that it could have on you because experiences come and go, they do not linger.
Exploring the truths of who we are and consciousness and so on may be more than what you were expecting to read from a blog about letting go, however it does help to understand that we are just experiencing human thoughts and feelings but they are not who we are. We can be whoever we want to be. When you step back and observe your thoughts and, that key word again, are aware of what they are and accept them for just that, thought experiences and feeling experiences, then we are free to make that choice of letting them go.
It can feel uncomfortable letting stuff go.
Especially if we have held onto that ‘stuff’ for a long time. If we have been holding onto something for a long time, then it can take a while to be able to fully let it go. All we do is, each time we become aware that we are thinking of it, from our seat of consciousness, realising that we are giving it our time and attention again, we make the choice to let it go right there and then. The more we do it the easier it becomes and the quicker we do it with a new ‘limiting’ thought and belief the less we will need to do it before it is completely gone.
To summerise that rather long explanation:
- Become aware of what the thoughts, feelings, beliefs are that you would like to let go of by asking lots of questions.
- When you know what that thought or feeling is, register your awareness of it and make a choice to let go of it.
- Practice witnessing your thoughts and feelings from a conscious viewpoint and each time you find an unwanted one lingering make your choice to let it go.
- Understand that thoughts and emotions are simply something that we experience, they are not ‘us’ and do not define who ‘we’ are.
- Keep repeating this and you will notice how much easier it becomes to let go of unwanted thoughts and feelings and how you enjoy being in the present moment more of the time.
I hope that you have taken something from this blog. If you would like to talk to me about any of it or ask me any questions please do get in touch here.
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