A Guided Meditation for Releasing the Past
Life is like a roller coaster ride. Sometimes the ride is fun and exciting. Sometimes it feels like we are blindfolded and have no warning about the twists, turns, dives, and loops headed our way. Then, depending on how we deal with the ride, we may end up regretting the adventure and are not willing to try another ride. We allow fear to hold us back.
Fear of being hurt is what keeps us mired in the past. Past relationships, past jobs, past experiences of any kind can leave us holding bags full of emotional garbage. And then we try to carry this baggage around with us, only too eager to use it as an excuse why we’re not happy in the here and now, why we can’t be successful in any given endeavor or relationship. “Well, it’s because thus-and-so happened to me!” we cry while hitching the baggage higher on our backs lest it fall off.
We all carry baggage from our past. Too often, we put more attention on making sure we hold on to those painful old hurts instead of embracing the love, joy, and blessings of the present. Releasing the past frees us to be fully present and able to receive all the blessings available to us right now. We talk about wanting to be free, but do we really? Do we know how to let go of the baggage that drags us down and keeps us limited and in pain?
If you’re ready to start letting go of the things in your life that are no longer serving your good, you may benefit from a mentally visual exercise designed to help you start releasing from where you’re actually hanging on – in your mind. Here is a guided meditation you can use to help you begin letting go of some of the baggage you’ve been carrying with you. Whether it’s relationships, fears, worries, debts, or whatever, you can begin now to simply let go of those situations and conditions that have been holding you back from living your blessed life now. (Note: while people or conditions may not actually disappear, the purpose of this is to let go of your attachment to them so they no longer have any control over you mentally and emotionally so you can deal with them neutrally.)
To begin, you may want to spend some time thinking about the things you are holding onto from your past. That sounds redundant, I know, if you are already allowing that stuff to weigh you down. But the purpose of this is to “consciously” think about it – from an objective viewpoint if possible. Distance yourself emotionally and just look at the stuff you’ve been carrying. Maybe take some paper and a pen to make some notes to keep your focused. For the purpose of this exercise, you may want to deal with one particular issue or the whole bundle. Realize you may need more than one meditation exercise to really feel results, but don’t be surprised if one session does give you a feeling of greater lightness and relief!
Once you have identified the items you’re ready to let go of, give yourself some time and space to be alone. You need to be alone to do this, unless you have someone trusted who can vocally guide you through it; otherwise, read through this guide all at once and then perform the steps mentally, enhancing them as needed for your own style. Avoid lying down as that makes it too easy to fall asleep before your task is complete. Do sit comfortably so there is no stress or strain on your body. If you want very soft music in the background, that’s fine (no vocals); a candle or candles adds ambiance to any spiritual exercise. Wear comfortable clothing so you will be warm or cool, depending on your environment. Turn off external distractions such as televisions, radios, telephones, etc. Try to schedule this time without interruption.
When you are ready, begin relaxing your body with some deep breathing. You may have a favorite way of doing this; if not, simply begin by taking slow, deep breaths in through your nose and then exhale slowly through your mouth. As you are doing this, mentally prepare yourself by telling yourself that you are relaxing, you are releasing, you are preparing to let go and this is a good thing. If you feel yourself tensing up at the thought, choose to focus on relaxation. Attempt to come into this exercise without judgment of yourself, without attachment to the issues you’re dealing with. Be a third-party observer so you don’t get stuck in trying to hold on.
When you are relaxed and your mind is gently focused on your task, imagine you are walking along a pathway; it can be anywhere you want it to be. Perhaps it is a greenway close by a river. Spend as much time as you want walking along this path. In a little while, you come upon a clearing near the edge of the river, like a boat dock. You think this is a nice area for a boat to be able to take on passengers. At the edge of the boat dock you notice a raft. It can be any size you want it to be: small, large, full-barge-size. At first you may wonder what it’s doing there, but you look back on the bank and notice lots of boxes stacked and ready to be loaded onto the raft. You realize it’s your job to start loading those boxes onto the raft. As you are picking up the boxes you notice they are labeled. Look at the labels – what do they say? You realize they are labeled with the names of the items you want to release. These boxes are packed full of your excess baggage that you’ve been carrying in your life. Perhaps they say “relationships” (is there a specific name on the label?), or grief or fear, doubt, pain over any condition. Examine the label to see what is in the box.
You continue stacking the boxes on the raft. You think the raft is getting pretty full, but you keep working until all the boxes on the river bank are loaded onto the raft. It doesn’t matter how many boxes are there – there is plenty of room on the raft, even if it looks full. Keep stacking until all the boxes are off the ground and on the raft. After you place the last box on the raft, you step back. Look around the bank to make sure you got all the boxes. When satisfied that you got them all, look at the stacks on the raft. Realize this represents your bondage to the past. As you are looking at the boxes on the raft, you notice the raft is beginning to drift away from the bank. Relax. Don’t worry. This is supposed to happen. The raft floats farther out from the boat dock. You realize the current of the river is pulling it out, away from you. You begin to feel a sense of relief as you watch the raft drifting farther away from you. You know that spiritually you are being released from the bonds that have kept you tied to your past. For everything there is a season and now is the season to let go of those things that no longer serve you. It’s okay. It’s a good thing.
Take a deep breath. Notice how much deeper you can breathe. The raft continues to drift away from you. It is pulled into the center of the river’s current and begins flowing downstream. A breeze caresses your body and you look up. See how blue the sky is? Do you hear those birds? What an amazing feeling of freedom you feel! Look how blue the water is and how green the trees and shrubs are! Notice how everything is working in perfect harmony to provide a peaceful and healing environment. You can see clearly now how Nature provides healing in every situation; leaves fall off the trees in Autumn to make way for new growth in the Spring after a period of rest. You understand that Spirit/God does the same thing in your life. When you let go of those things that have served their purpose in your life, you are making the way clear for new and better experiences and this is the way it’s supposed to be.
The raft continues to move downstream. It appears to be getting smaller and smaller. As it moves away, you lose your sense of attachment to the things in the boxes on the raft. It is even becoming more difficult to remember what was in those boxes. You are happy to see them being taken away.
When you are ready, you can turn away from the river bank and continue on your journey. You can move ahead on the path, moving on around the next curve to wherever it takes you. As you go along, you are able to observe all that is around you. You are open and receptive to the next experience, knowing you are free from any past restrictions that would limit your ability to receive the blessings of the present and future. Perhaps you want to open your arms to the sky and express your gratitude with a big sigh of Thanksgiving, for Spirit/God’s ability to help you heal, to help you release, to help you move forward in your life freely and joyfully, unencumbered by past judgments or error thinking. You are able to let go of all of it and say Yes! to your brand new life.
You are free to create your new life in any way you see fit. Now that you are free from the past, you have unlimited opportunities ahead of you, which you welcome with eagerness and anticipation, expecting only good to come from them. You have no preconceived ideas about what you will experience, allowing yourself to remain open and receptive to the best and highest good that is coming your way. You realize your life is really good and you have the power to make it even better because you have let go of the past.
When you are ready to finish your meditation, bring yourself back to your present awareness. Give yourself a few minutes to realign yourself in your environment. Notice the light feeling you have, feeling the true release you allowed to happen in your heart, mind, and spirit. Write in your journal how you feel. If you still feel bothered by some of the things on the raft, it’s okay. Realize you can do this exercise again and again, as many times as needed until you are able to fully let go of the idea or situation holding you to the past.
Our past experiences have made us who we are today. We should honor them and be grateful for the experiences for if we are at the place of moving on, then they have done their job in helping us grow. Remain open and receptive to the lessons available in every experience, even if it’s simply the experience of appreciating what you have now, for you will be more blessed by every experience when you are fully present with it.
You can adapt this meditation any way you see fit to meet your needs. Instead of a raft, you could load your boxes onto a train, airplane, or truck. Visual imagery is very strong and can be used to help you begin or continue creating the life of your dreams because thoughts are things and the things you think about most are those things you will be drawing into your life experience.
Please seek professional help for any mental or emotional issues that you have extreme difficulty in handling. This meditation is intended to help you release your attachment to past conditions that you feel limit your ability to have a happy experience in your life now. It is not intended to replace any needed medical or other professional care.