To be free, you must find a way to let go of all the stuck energy that keeps sending out the same old messages. The ability to let go is more complex than it sounds, but nothing is more crucial. Letting go of anger and fear requires a process, which includes the following:
Be alert. Don’t ignore your feelings when you are angry or anxious. Resist the impulse to look away and shove your feelings back down out of sight. The more alert you are, the easier it will be to access stuck energy and let it go.
Be objective. If you identify personally with negativity, you will never let it go. Learn to see anger as only energy, like electricity. Electricity isn’t about you. Neither is anger. It’s universal and sticks to anything that seems unfair or unjust. Fear sticks to anything that feels dangerous or unsafe.
Detach from the specifics. Energies get stuck to particular situations: A specific person rams your car from the rear, butts in line ahead of you at the supermarket, or cheats you out of money. These are the contents of the situation, its specifics, and you cannot completely let go of energy by living solely in those moments. Imagine having a fight with your spouse. You are sure you’re justified in your position. But if you refuse to stop being angry until your spouse says, “I was wrong; you were right all along,” you could wait forever. And even if he does apologize, your anger might not completely disappear. Detach from the contents of the situation and release your anger by yourself, for your own good.
Take responsibility. This goes hand in hand with detachment. Your energy is yours and nobody else’s. In spiritual terms, it doesn’t matter who is right or wrong, who is the aggressor or the victim. The only important thing is how to win your own freedom. In a world of opposites, right and wrong are engaged in an eternal struggle. Your role is to let go of energy that has stuck to you for whatever reason. Once you take responsibility, you won’t be tossed about at the whim of circumstance.
Don’t expect anyone to do it for you. There is certainly such a thing as divine guidance, but the road to freedom is through the self. Most of us hope to gain strength from other people, not some divine agency. Yet there is no getting around the fact that all you have for the spiritual journey is your own mind, body, and soul. As much as others can offer solace and helpful wishes, only you can embark on the journey inside yourself.
Let your body participate. Letting go isn’t just a mental process. In fact, you have metabolized your past and given it sanctuary in your body. Or as someone put it simply, “The issues are in the tissues.” Many kinds of bodywork and purification therapies can be useful here. To begin with, let your body do what it wants to do. It knows how to tremble with fear and convulse with anger. Don’t resist the body’s natural reactions, but don’t inflict them on someone else, either. Throwing off stuck energy is a private process that belongs to you alone.
Explore and discover. I don’t want to imply that the spiritual journey involves laborious effort undertaken in solitude. Quite the contrary. Nothing is more fascinating than finding out who you really are, and what you are really about. The vast majority of people live secondhand lives. All they know about themselves is what others tell them; the voices they hear in their heads come from the past; their vision of possibilities amounts to what they were taught at school, in church, and in the family. The past creates unresolved energy. The need to conform creates a fear of breaking free. Fortunately, to the extent that you let go of these old energies, you will win a new bit of freedom.
Value freedom above everything. I said earlier that we all hear two impulses -inside ourselves. One says, “This is what I want to do,” the other says, “This is what I’d better do.” The first is the voice of freedom; the second is the voice of fear. The divine plan is infinitely complex, but when it comes down to each person, it’s infinitely simple. You get to be whoever you want to be; you get to do whatever you want to do. That’s not the same as what your ego wants you to be or what your fantasies urge you to do. Spiritual freedom releases you into infinite Being. Then and only then will you encounter the real you. At that moment, all that you wanted to be in the past will be seen as a temporary impulse. And each impulse to be free will been seen to be leading you in the right direction.
Adapted from Why is God Laughing? by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2008).