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How to let go of the past

A powerful exercise

How to let go of the past? That’s an interesting question.

Let me tell you a story first.

Back in high school, we did a strange exercise.

A Priest -let’s call him Father Pedro- asked us to write down on paper our emotions. “What are the things that keep haunting you?” he asked. “To whom should you forgive and why? Write everything down”.

Ten minutes later, Father Pedro lit a fire; he gently asked us to line up and to toss one by one the paper into the fire.

It happened over 10 years ago and I never really understood why we did that exercise. I like to understand the underlying reasons for everything. Why do we do what we do? Never could I merely content myself with the “just believe” and shut up.

how to let go of the past

The same exercise a decade later

“It is much better to burn the paper rather than just throwing it to the bin”

A year ago, we hired a personal development consultant for our team. And funny enough, he proposed exactly the same exercise on how to let go of the past. The only difference that time was that we threw the paper in a waste basket.

I don’t know why but I was skeptical when I threw the paper into the bin. I just felt as if nothing changed, as if the emotions were still there.

It wasn’t until later that I understood why writing down our feelings into paper turns out to be so effective and powerful.

I also understood why it is much better to burn the paper rather than just throwing it to the bin.

Are you interested in discovering why? So read on.

Do you also have internal conflicts?

What to do if you had traumatic experiences? How to let go of the past?

How do you resolve internal conflicts and negative emotions that continue to haunt you consciously or unconsciously?

I’ve been asking myself these questions a lot and for a long time because I myself have a lot of internal conflicts, residues of my past. And I will surely have more in the future.

It is a bit like everyone else.

But most of us don’t do anything about those negative emotions often called “energy vampires”.

Some people will drink, smoke or even abuse sex to resolve these internal conflicts.

Some will feel like a victim their entire life.

To solve that problem, I would like to propose a simpler method.

It’s just one healthy technique among many others (The powerful Ho’ponopono method, hypnosis, affirmation, visualization etc.).

how to let go

Conscious & subconscious

It was in high school that we were taught the notions of conscious and subconscious.

There are two simple principles to understand here.

1) Everything we experienced, the things that passed through our conscious mind are now lodged in our subconscious mind.

2) To all these experiences are attached positive or negative emotions (for example, you would keep a pleasant memory of your first kiss; the contrary if a dog bit you…)

How to let go of the past: Understand energy

“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibrations.” Nikola Tesla

The first thing you have to understand is that everything is energy.

This energy vibrates with a certain frequency.

Emotions that have entered our subconscious mind are energy and they vibrate with certain frequency.

The problem is that we can’t do anything about these experiences because it has already happened.

But what we can do is simply “release” the emotions attached to these experiences from our subconscious mind.

As we do this, these experiences will no longer keep haunting us.

How can we do that?

Just remember.

You can’t destroy energy; you can only transmute it. Transmutation by definition is to change one substance into another.

To do that concretely, take a pen and a sheet of paper.

Identify a specific problem that comes back again and again in your mind and that keeps haunting you. For example, I have a difficult relationship with a close relative and I want to solve it.

I write down everything about it. Why do I hate that person, why do I keep resenting him, just write about everything that comes in your mind.

By putting your intense emotions and problems on paper, something interesting happens.

Those experiences in the subconscious mind become conscious again as you relive them.

The emotions attached to these experiences “flow” and “come out” from your hand to the paper.

After a while, you may feel as if you are letting yourself be “controlled and brought” by these emotions, anger, rage and sorrow etc… But in the end, you will feel better.

Now crumple it up and burn that paper.


break free of the past


Why do I crumple and burn the paper?

Does fire destroy emotions? No, because energy cannot be destroyed.

In fact, fire burns and transforms the emotions in the paper into heat (which is also energy), ashes etc…


How long should you repeat this exercise?

According to Dandapani – a Hindu monk- who helped me discover this exercise, it really depends on the trauma you’ve been through.

It can go from one time to 3 or 4 times depending on the intensity of the emotion.


If you practice journaling, you will know that writing on paper is good for you. It’s even recommended to do it right after you wake up because you’ll feel “lighter”. As if you’ve evacuated your emotions on paper.

You now might want to learn:

How to motivate yourself?

How to stay motivated?