Know and Let Go: How Awareness Relieves Tension


Here we are at the start of a new year once again. More often than not, new beginnings inspire, if not require, a letting go of the old.

In order to let go, we must first know that we are holding on. That is where awareness comes in. Mindfulness is all about awareness.

By practicing mindfulness, we become more aware, among other things, of the subtle ways we hold on — from the tightness in our shoulders or gut… to racing thoughts… to worries of what might happen.

A simple mindfulness practice you can bring into your life is to pause frequently during the day and tune in to your body. By becoming aware of how and where you hold on to tension in your body, you create an opportunity for release and renewal.

What’s happening in your shoulders? Your jaw? Your belly? By stopping and bringing a kind and friendly attention to areas of your body where you habitually hold tension, you have the option of choosing to let go.

Breathing in, noticing what’s going on in your body.
Breathing out, inviting yourself to soften, release, be a bit more comfortable.

These words of Achaan Chah encourage us to keep practicing, as it is the way to deeper peace:

 If you let go a little, you will have a little peace.
 If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace.
If you let go completely, you will know complete peace.

It is no more complicated than to start right where you are and realize that with awareness, you CAN choose to let go.

Certainly, taking good care of the present is the best thing we can do to move toward a peaceful, sustainable and meaningful future—the kind of life we envision for ourselves, our children and our children’s children.


To what one breath can do,




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