Hanson on Letting Go

Some thoughts by writer-philosopher Rick Hanson on not-clinging:

Keep It Real

You can help yourself let something go by making it concrete. For example, put a small stone or other object in your hand and imagine that it is the thing you've been attached to. Hold onto it hard; let your desires and thoughts about it flow through awareness; feel the costs related to it; and when you're ready, open your hand and drop it - and open as well to any sense of relief, freedom, ease, or insight. You could do a similar practice by writing a note about this attachment, and then tearing it up and letting its pieces fall away. Or you could talk with a trusted being - perhaps a friend or therapist, or in your own kind of prayer - and explore the attachment, communicate your intentions to move on, and let it go.

Move On

You might still have the wish that something work out, but you no longer feel driven, compelled, intense, fixed, caught up, identified, or strongly desirous about it. You have accepted the way it is. You have surrendered; in a healthy sense, you have given up. Make space for the disappointment or grieving that's natural when you let go of something that's been important for you. It's normal to feel sad about a loss. Then after a while, it occupies your mind less and less, and you move on to more fruitful things.


Let good things come into the space that's been opened up by whatever you've let go. These could be more time, freedom, energy, peace, creativity, or love. Of course, there are many things worth pursuing, including the next breath, but you can make wholesome efforts while simultaneously letting go of attachment to their results. Let yourself be surprised - both by what might replace what you've released, and by the power of letting go in general. ...

Hanson concludes with an aphorism (or perhaps a joke?!) by Ajahn Chah:

(see Hanson's essay at [1], [2], etc.; cf. Without Effort, Analysis, or Expectation (2010-08-04), Just One Thing (2012-12-02), Not Knowing (2013-06-07), Let Go (2013-10-18), 01 (2013-11-05), Mantra - Let It Go (2014-12-27), Radical Acceptance (2015-05-13), Perfect Size for Letting Go (2015-09-14), Stay Right When Wronged (2016-10-05), Ultimate Freedom (2017-06-18), ...) - ^z - 2018-01-17