Learning to leave behind baggage of the past

The Sedona Method aims to teach people to come to terms with painful emotions by learning to let the go. Niamh Hooper reports

The Sedona Method aims to teach people to come to terms with painful emotions by learning to let the go. Niamh Hooper reports

Ever noticed what happens when a child falls down? They look to see if there's anyone around. If they see no one, there's not upset. It's like nothing happened and they let it go.

That natural ability to let go is within us all and developing it as an adult could be one of the greatest gift we could give ourselves, it seems.

The Sedona Method, which has been used in the US since the early 1970s, is a technique that shows you how to tap this ability and let go of any uncomfortable emotion or feeling on the spot. And the results last indefinitely apparently.

According to author of the Sedona Method, Hale Dwoskin, even our most extreme feelings have only as much substance as a soap bubble. "We all have a tendency to live life on the surface. We believe if we scratch the surface it's going to be awful inside but that's a lie. Based on the work I've done with tens of thousands of people I've discovered that at our core there is this beauty, peace, love and joy - no matter how much armouring we have on the surface.

"When you're willing to go a little below the surface the emotional turmoil drops away. If you're in the ocean during a hurricane, it's really stormy on the surface but if you go 20 or 30 ft below it's completely calm - the same is true with all of us. The problem is we get lost in the tumult on the surface. With the Sedona Method you learn how to be in touch with your calm inner core even in turmoil."

Now 50, Dwoskin came across the method at 22 when he met the physicist/engineer Lester Levenson who developed the method. After a second coronary in 1952, Levenson was sent home to die. But rather than give up he decided to "go back to the lab within himself and see if he could find some answers".

He used what he learned - the basis of the Sedona Method - on himself over several months, at the end of which his body was totally healed. He lived another 42 years after the doctors had given him only a few weeks to live. "And in that 42 years he was in a continuous state of profound peacefulness," Dwoskin says.

In describing it, he uses the analogy of a pen in your hand. "The pen is your unwanted emotions and your hand is your gut or awareness. Grip tightly and before long it will get uncomfortable yet familiar. Then roll the pen round in your hand. The pen is not attached, as your emotions are not attached, yet we use language that suggests they are. Instead of saying I feel sad or angry, we say I'm sad or I'm angry.

"Every feeling we have, no matter how good a story we've made up about why we feel the way we feel and how long we've felt that way, is as attached as that pen is to our hand. Close hand around pencil. And just drop it. That's how easy it is to let go of any emotion - it's just a decision."

How best to do this? Allow and welcome the feeling you're avoiding and that enables it to drop away by itself.

Harvard and New York State University did a pilot study and found it to be highly effective in reducing blood pressure, muscle tension and heart rate. And more recently in a study carried out on salespeople in Mutual of New York insurance company, showed the results accumulate over time. Over six months, sales increased by 33 per cent for those who used the method.

But if it's that easy why aren't we all doing it?

"Actually we do it naturally through laughter and but most of the time we're so busy trying to fit in. We're trying not to show our emotions because we've been trained it's wrong to do that, so when a feeling comes up that make us feel uncomfortable we just push it back down out of our awareness, we suppress it. You've probably heard the expression time heals all wounds - in my experience that's a lie, it doesn't but given enough time you can suppress anything. The balancing point is the Sedona Method of releasing and letting go."

Hale Dwoskin will host a full-day workshop on April 5th at the IMI and give his Sedona Method seminar on April 6that the Stillorgan Park Hotel. Further information on www.jsaonline.ie or call 087 979 7988.