Go of the Need to Know
By Hale Dwoskin
Years ago, during a Sedona Method course I was teaching, I suggested to my class that if they let go of wanting to figure out their problems, the answers and cures would come. I was explaining that wanting to understand or figure out why, or from where, problems arise, can be a major obstacle to healing. We unknowingly hold on to and exacerbate our problems by holding on to them so we can figure them out.
There was one man in particular who had a hard time embracing the concept. He was an electrical engineer, and he “knew” beyond any shadow of a doubt that he had to figure things out in his profession or he would not be able to do his job. I didn’t fight with him about his point of view; I merely suggested that he at least remain open to the possibility that letting go of wanting to figure it out might be of service to him.
In between the two weekends of the course, the engineer had an experience that totally changed his perception. He was working to create a sample circuit and needed a particular part to complete it. But when he went to find it in the parts room — a room consisting of rows upon rows of bins stacked on floor-to-ceiling shelves and filled with small electronics parts, sorted according to their specifications — the bin where the part was supposed to be was empty. He thought, “I am sure that this letting go of wanting to figure out stuff can’t possibly work with this kind of problem, but I’m going to give it a try anyhow.”
So, he just stood there for a few minutes and let go of wanting to figure out where the part might be. Then he found himself walking around the corner to a new row of bins, where he reached into one that was labeled for something else, and, lo and behold, there was the part he was seeking. He was dumbfounded because he had just done this on a lark, certain it wouldn’t work — and it did anyway!
It’s infinitely alarming and amazing to me that as we seek a cure for what ails us, we actually make it harder for ourselves to heal! Many of us go from self-help book to self-help book, self-improvement course to self-improvement course, audio program to audio program, desperate to find ways to alleviate our suffering, or to brush up on the latest method on how to excel in life. How often do those techniques truly work? Of course not every self-improvement program delivers on its promises, but the problem runs deeper than that. There are certain things we all do to sabotage our success in life and in our quest to improve ourselves.
The good news is that it does not have to be this way. If you follow these simple guidelines, you will find yourself getting more out of any tool or program for positive change that you explore. You may even find yourself learning how to simply live your life to the fullest in this moment without the need for constant seeking.
The following avoidable pitfalls are gleaned from my experiences participating in and leading Sedona Method seminars over the past quarter of century. I hope you find them helpful.
“I suffer, therefore I am.” Strange as it may seem, this statement reflects the way that most of us live our lives. We identify with our problems; it is almost as though we justify our existence by having obstacles to overcome, problems to fix, and suffering as much as we can bear. We become so versed in being the person with a particular problem that we’re often afraid we won’t know who we are without it. When we take a moment to reflect on our problems, we may even discover that we’ve grown so attached to these patterns of thought and behavior that it’s hard to imagine ourselves without them. Rather than being open to the uncertainty that comes from letting go, we are clinging to the artificial sense of security that comes from knowing what to expect, even if that expectation is not beneficial.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Think of a problem that you believe belongs to you, and ask yourself: “Would I rather have the false sense of security that comes from knowing all about this problem, or would I rather be free?” If you’d rather be free, you’ll spontaneously let go of your attachment to the problem, and you’ll begin discovering natural solutions to it, as opposed to justifying having, or being stuck with, the problem.
“But what will I talk about?” Most of us base a significant amount of our interpersonal communications on seeking sympathy for our problems or commiserating with others about theirs. Often we become such experts at describing our problems to others that we don’t want to stop. Sharing our problems is not detrimental, rather, it’s the constant recycling of our “problems” to our friends and family that actually prohibits us from letting go of the problem at hand. We get stuck telling and sharing the same problem over and over again, with no relief. Are we telling the same “agony aunt” woes time and again to share our grief with friends, or are we seeking approval for our problem?
If you find yourself telling the same story more than once, check to see if you are seeking agreement or approval for the problem. If you are, ask yourself:
Could I let go of wanting others to agree with me about my having this problem?
Could I let go of wanting approval for this problem?
“It’s mine, that’s why.” Pride is a shifty emotion. Just like we feel proud of our accomplishments, we also get hooked into being subtly proud of our problems. We feel so special for having them. This pitfall on the path to freedom may take the form of feeling proud of having prevailed even with the problem, proud of having borne it for so long, or proud of having a problem that is unique to us alone.
Keep an eye open for pride. Look at your problems as you work on them, and check to see if you feel that they make you “special.” If you find any pride and you can honestly admit it and let it go, then you’ll find yourself free to let go of the problem, too.
Don’t ask “why?” Wanting to understand or figure out why, or from where problems arise, can also be a major obstacle to letting them go. We literally must hold on to our problems in order to figure them out. Furthermore, we only truly need to understand a problem if we are planning to have it occur again or are planning in some way to maintain it. Ask yourself a question: Would I rather understand my problems or just be free of them? If you would rather be free, I highly recommend letting go of wanting to figure them out.
We can only solve our problems right here, right now, in this moment. If we dwell on the past in an effort to analyze a problem or issue, we must leave the present moment — the only place where we can truly solve anything!
I highly encourage you to be open to the possibility that you can get the answers you crave in your life through this process of letting go of wanting to figure it out. Like the electrical engineer, you may be surprised!
Hale Dwoskin is the CEO and Director of Training for Sedona Training Associates. He is an international speaker, corporate consultant and trainer of trainers. Dwoskin is the author of current New York Times best-seller “THE SEDONA METHOD: Your Key to Lasting Happiness, Success, Peace and Emotional Well-being,” and co-author of “Happi-ness Is Free and It’s Easier Than You Think.” For more information about “The Sedona Method,” visit: www.sedonamethod.com
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