How to Let Go Using Visualization


Our longing for control makes it hard to let go of things, situations, and people. We know that it’s impossible to control everything that happens in our lives, but we struggle with this truth on a daily basis. It can be as simple as an answer that we have been waiting for but doesn’t come, or a rainy day that ruins our vacation plans. Instead of getting creative and finding a different way to make things work, we get overwhelmed by anger and frustration.

The first thing that helped me deal with my negative feelings was the COMMITMENT to learn to let things go—I just decided that I wanted to receive the wisdom of surrender. As you know, realizing that you need to change something in your life is the first step towards healing. Even simply desiring to LEARN to let go shifted my perspective—every time I found myself in a moment of frustration, I stopped the thoughts and focused on my commitment. I also had to accept that negative emotions have to be embraced as parts of ourselves, but they come and go, like waves in an ocean.

The metaphor of us as the ocean that I heard in many spiritual teachings, resonates with me. Thinking of myself as the whole ocean and seeing the waves passing, put my problems in perspective—we can’t control the waves, but they are also temporary. This is a beautiful and effective visualization that can help you let go of things that are keeping you stuck—allow the movement of the waves and watch them disappear on the shore. Visualization is a powerful tool that you can use when you feel overwhelmed by negative emotions.

Another technique that I learned from my spiritual teacher is letting go of an imaginary ball that represents the issue. I remember that we were walking on the beach and I was telling her that I was stressed out—she stopped me gently and asked me to close my eyes. Imagine that there is a ball inside your stomach, which is usually where we concentrate our anxiety. Now get the ball out of your belly, move your hands like if you were doing it for real—get it out. Keep the ball in the palm of one hand (you choose its features, I like imagining it transparent and light), look at it, and see the problem you are facing in your hand—it’s NOT in your stomach anymore. Hold the ball in your hand for as long as you need, launch it gently and take it back—feel it, but remember that it’s not part of you anymore, so you HAVE to let it go. Once you feel ready, launch it in the sky and watch it go up and up—until it disappears from view. You can repeat this exercise as many times as you need; it will help you focus, accept the issue, and let go.

Learning to surrender is difficult, but it’s an essential skill to have to face hard times. There is always something new to embrace and something else to let go—and there is harmony in that. Imagining ourselves and our problems in a different shape can help us put them in perspective and see their temporariness.