New Research Says “Let It Be” Works Best

To Be or Not to Be or Simply Let It Be

Can one choose to be or not to be and what does the research say about let it be?

A recent article in INC Magazine: Feeling Anxious? Say These 3 Words to Calm Down, According to Scientists and Zen Monks Let it go? Let it be? Which is the better mantra for calming the mind?

The participants repeating the “Let it go” mantra had a 24 percent drop in anxiety. The clear winner, however, was “Let it be,” with a 45 percent drop in anxiety.

The reason? Those told to repeat “Let it be” felt the experience was less effortful. In other words, when you let something be, it just is (emphasis mine). You don’t have to do anything to it or to yourself. When you let something go, however, there’s a part of the process that’s asking you to actively do something: let go of a feeling or thought. That requires some “doing” and therefore is less effective than just letting things be.

The simplicity, yet profundity of “let it be” seems to universally speak to us as human beings, touching an innocence and openness in our soul as demonstrated by the remarkable and sustained success of the Beatle’s hit song and album, Let it Be (123,556,084 views). Unsurprisingly, “Let it Be” is familiar to millions of people and is a top hit in the US, Australia, Italy, Norway and Switzerland

There is an organic humanness to the advice “let it be”. We can see this conveyed in the fact that the Mother Mary referenced in the song is Paul McCartney’s own mother, not Jesus’. ‘Let it Be’ comes from a positive place, as he (Paul McCartney) heeds his late mother’s advice and learns to stop pushing away the inevitable.

words of wisdom let it be


This invitation is so fundamental that ‘Let it Be’ swiftly became a universally recognized song of peace, love, and unity. The heartfelt ballad deals with the overwhelming struggles the world faces and its spiritual undertones simplify the struggle by communicating what we all need to hear when going through emotional turmoil – that this too shall pass, so take your time and do not let it consume you. ‘Let it Be’ was an album that marked the end of an era for The Beatles as a band, but it was just the beginning for the song and the life-giving mantra of “let it be”. 

Nondoing – Let it Be

nondoing nonduality

Let it be speaks to the wisdom and insight of nondoing, a nondual state of realization.

We have been working with the practice of nondoing by learning how to be where we are without doing anything to be where we are. We have seen how by simply being aware, we are able to recognize at some point what is happening in our experience, to understand it, see the meaning of it. We have seen that this meaning over time becomes a thread of meaning, our personal thread, which transforms into essential meaning, which is the presence of True Nature itself. – A. H. Almaas, The Unfolding Now, ch. 16

Being Where We Are

So, one thing we can learn from True Nature is to have no preference, no choice; we don’t need to choose what to experience. Our experience always simply happens. If we try to choose and say, “This is good, this is bad, this situation should include this and not that,” we are already separating ourselves from True Nature; we are already not practicing. True Nature shows us that to be where we are means having an awareness that embraces whatever is – whatever our perceptions are, at whatever level, in whatever condition or state we are in. That awareness embraces our experience completely, with immediate feeling, with as much understanding as possible. The awareness contacts the experience, holds it, embraces it – just by being there, by being with it, in it, around it. – A. H. Almaas, The Unfolding Now, pg. 25

Let it Go as Let it Be as Letting Go

When you stop contracting, and stop pushing, what remains is what was there in reality. For example, if you are pushing against anger, you might be resisting it because you think that it’s bad, or that you are bad if you feel it. If you realize your resistance to it you will feel the anger. When we see that this is what people call letting go, we understand that all it means is that we stopped doing something, not that we are now doing something called letting go. The letting go is a non-doing. The contraction is the activity of the personality and that is all it knows how to do: resist and defend. If you assume you are doing something called letting go, look carefully into the moment that it happens. You will see that it is actually a movement from doing into non-doing, or more accurately, a cessation of activity. – A. H. Almaas, Diamond Heart Book Three, ch. 12

Take a moment to share a comment on your experience of – Let it Go or Let it Be.

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