A Nightly Reflection Activity
The Buddha said, “Just as a snake sheds its skin, we must shed our past over and over again.” The Buddha is one of my teachers, and I believe he means that, in order to grow, we must let go of everything that makes us feel constricted, that holds us back. But let’s be honest here: it is often very difficult to shake off an upsetting experience. It has a great hold on us.
The third part of The Practice—Letting Go—is not about forgetting or ignoring our experiences, but rather about acknowledging them, feeling them, and then mentally setting the intention to let them go and filing away the lessons learned as well as the experiences we had. Our intention here is to go into sleep free of worrisome or repetitive thoughts, knowing the day is over.
We sometimes foolishly think we can change what has happened, but the truth is the day is over. There is no going back. Through the process of letting go, we go into our night’s sleep free of anything that might hold us back and wake up the new day with a fresh perspective and a little greater in knowledge and awareness.
If you have never practiced nightly reflection, I suggest that you give it a try this evening. Take a look at this part of The Practice by clicking here. In my book The Practice: Simple Tools for Managing Stress, Finding Inner Peace, and Uncovering Happiness, I offer a whole chapter on Letting Go with more insight into this essential end cap to my daily practice.
Remember DO NOT be hard on yourself if you have difficulty letting go—no judgments and no expectations, just the intention to let go of the day. Like everything, learning to let go takes practice. So simply set the intention to release the day and make peace with yourself. If you get stuck on a thought during your reflection or even as you are falling asleep, turn to your Sacred Mantra and breath for support.
If it has been a particularly trying day, I use these wise words, which I truly love, by Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“Finish each day and be done with it.
You have done what you could; some blunders
and absurdities have crept in; forget them as
soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall
begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to
be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
Letting Go is a beautiful practice for the day’s end, and you will see it spill over into your day to come. In this practice, you are training your mind to let go of things as they arise throughout the day.
If you feel moved to share your experiences with me tomorrow when you wake up in the new day, I would love to hear how this experience was for you.