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Pushing Away or Letting Go? Navigating Difficult Energies

Each of us has experienced difficulty in our lives. And with that comes shifting energies, emotions, and thoughts that may be uncomfortable and may stick around longer than we would like.  Emotions such as anger, disappointment, anxiety, and grief are experienced as energies in our bodies and our fields. The stories we tell about our lives and the paradigms we believe in create energy fields. Often we come to awareness that we don't want to be stuck in the energies we are in now forever.

But when we decide to “let it go” and move on in our lives, what does that really mean? 

Do we sometimes mix up “letting it go” with “pushing it away”?

Instead of forcing the energy from us (and often setting ourselves up for it to rebound right back), how do we instead allow difficult energies to release and become transmuted?


When you hear the phrase “push away”, what image comes to mind?

Pushing away involves the deliberate act of trying to remove emotions or energies from us. Just like pushing a child on a swing, the more force we use to push away, the more energy comes back towards us.  While we may experience temporary relief, pushing often leads to a build-up of unresolved emotions.  It stops the process of transformation before it’s complete.

Now, when you hear the phrase “let go”, what image comes to mind?

Letting go is a process that involves acknowledging and accepting energies without being consumed by them. It's about allowing feelings to come and go, understanding they are impermanent in nature. Letting go is releasing our grasp; being with what is.  Neither pulling towards, nor pushing away.  Letting go is resting in the knowledge that as we stop trying to force energies to shift, they will gently release and transform over time through practice.


If you have experienced a Reiki training, one of the first things that you learn are the five precepts of Reiki:


Just for today I will let go of anger.

Just for today I will let go of worry.

Just for today I will be grateful.

Just for today I will do my duty.

Just for today I will be kind to my neighbor and every living thing.


When you become a Reiki practitioner, the intention is that Reiki becomes not only something you share in service to others, but also a foundational daily personal practice. These five precepts serve as guiding principles.

Notice that the first two precepts are about letting go,

The precepts are also anchored with the phrase “just for today”.  Through the Reiki precepts, letting go becomes not a one-time push, but a gentle daily practice that makes space for the healing energy of Reiki to flow and transform.


In her book “Radical Acceptance”, psychologist and meditation teacher Tara Brach, Ph.D. shares a reflection on one of her favorite stories of the Buddha.  In this story we see what it looks like to let go, as opposed to push away:


“The night before his enlightenment, the Buddha fought a great battle with the Demon God Mara, who attacked the then bodhisattva Siddhartha Guatama with everything he had: lust, greed, anger, doubt, etc. Having failed, Mara left in disarray on the morning of the Buddha’s enlightenment.

Yet, it seems Mara was only temporarily discouraged. Even after the Buddha had become deeply revered throughout India, Mara continued to make unexpected appearances...

Instead of ignoring Mara or driving him away, the Buddha would calmly acknowledge his presence, saying, “I see you, Mara.”

He would then invite him for tea and serve him as an honored guest…

When Mara visits us, in the form of troubling emotions or fearsome stories, we can say, “I see you, Mara,” and clearly recognize the reality of craving and fear that lives in each human heart. By accepting these experiences with the warmth of compassion, we can offer Mara tea rather than fearfully driving him away.”

Radical Acceptance: Embracing Life with the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach, Ph.D.



It can be tempting when we experience difficult energies to either grab ahold of them or to push them away.  We can grasp onto energies by re-telling the stories, feeding them with our own energy, ruminating on them and reengaging the feelings that could have passed long ago.  We can also push them away – giving undue energy to thoughts and emotions that we feel shouldn’t be there anymore and working to try to remove or repress them before they are ready to let us go.

Instead of either grasping or pushing, there is a middle way.  We can have an open palm and be present with what is.  We can greet difficult energies with acceptance and compassion.  We can practice being present with these energies without becoming absorbed by them.  We can trust ourselves to experience them safely.  And we can rest in the truth that all things are impermanent. 

As we cultivate a new relationship to the energies within and around us, we unlock the potential for growth, resilience, and profound self-discovery.  And we have the ability to allow space for the natural processes of transmutation and transformation to take place with compassionate, gentle practice over time.

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