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By Shawn McAndrew

Lately, this word “release” has continued to enter my consciousness. I’ve come to believe that if a word, phrase, or image keeps popping up, it may be time to pay attention to the message.

The Effects of Releasing the Past

releasing the pastOne of the things that leads many people to the Hoffman Process is the desire to release one’s past. We spend a lot of time before and during the Process understanding our past, and learning how to release its effects on us. What was done, said, and implied to us as children has long-lasting effects.

Releasing past emotional and physical incursions and pains is not always simple. Much emotion and reactivity are tied up in the harmful words and acts from our past. It may be hard for us to let go of the wrongs we suffered. Yet we must find a way to move into our true authentic selves in order to be joyous, productive, loving adults.

Submission vs. Surrender

Letting go means to understand the difference between submission and surrender. If you remember from the Process, we talk about submission vs. surrender on the first day. “Submission is a passive action, which implies not taking any responsibility for your behavior.” On the other hand, “Surrender is a conscious act that comes out of your inner strength, and occurs through the use of your free will and your own choice.”

This is about passivity versus activity. Taking action is what we do when we are releasing the past. We are using our own free will to choose our actions consciously. Our spiritual self is in charge, not the emotional self or intellect of our childhood.

Go Through to Get Through

Certainly, by choosing to be present and acting from spirit does not guarantee that the pain of what we are going through will be non-existent. But in order to get to the other side of this pain, we must go through it. We all know what happens when we go around it – it keeps coming around!

As the teachers point out during the Process, when we are willing to surrender to our own spiritual self, life is full of possibility. That’s the beauty of going through these challenges – we come out with more awareness, better insights, and a more defined vision of what we want in life.

Releasing the Past for Future Gain

I think most of us know that releasing the past is not an easy task. Yet, if you have completed the Process, you know the rewards far outweigh the journey of revisiting these pains and changing the outcome. The future likely holds the promise of a better life once we embrace the going in and coming out.

This topic reminds me of a beautiful story written by one of our grads a few years ago. His story personifies the idea of releasing the past. Check it out:
https://www.hoffmaninstitute.org/i-am-love/.

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