If you let go a little, you will have a little peace.
If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace.
If you let go completely, you will discover complete peace.
Non Attachment and Finding a Balance
Life can be a battle of pushing and pulling. Trying to set and attain goals. Making our quotas. Hitting the gyms. Watching our calorie intake, putting up with office drama, battling traffic. “When will things go my way? When will it be my turn?Why this? Why that?” Maybe you are one of the lucky ones walking the planet that cannot identify with the pull/push process of life. So if you aren’t one of the lucky ones, what can we do to gain balance?
NON ATTACHMENT- I remember in 2003 when my Zen teacher slid across the table a paragraph from a book regarding the power of ‘non attachment,’ I quickly read it, processed it, and slid it back and said. “I don’t agree with that.”
Sometimes we are not ready for our lessons or hard truths we must face that can help us find that much-needed inner peace.
I had been that girl. The one that thought that I had it all figured it out. I had all of my dreams in place. I knew where I belonged in the world and of the world. I had my future lined out, too. Well of course we make plans and you know who laughs. I now look back and realize that I was too young and also not ready to let go of my own attachments—my illusions that gave my soul a certain box to sit in so I knew my own perimeters. I liked being in this place that allowed me to feel and think exactly the way I could understand. This method works for only a little while. Then you will be faced to see your own flaws and wonder once again where you went wrong in your thinking.
Non Attachment. That doesn’t make sense really. Obviously since we were born we were taught things, people and places to feel attachments to us that define us. So if we are taught this, what is the importance of unlearning it?
For me personally—I still struggle with this. You know, I get my hopes up about something. A situation, or an event that may come to pass. I decorate this event with Christmas tree trimmings, I see the lights, I had my heart and soul into it and then I count down to when that moment might happen.
What we want sometimes just doesn’t happen. That particular event unravels. Or worse that person we want to reciprocate our feelings, does not give it back to us. When this happens, the most crippling feelings can drag us down and make us feel as if..well, why dream?
Why get excited about something if there is a possibility it might not work out?
For me, I have found sort of in-between balance of non attachment and realism of how I was raised that keeps me grounded just enough and also keeps my feet slightly lifted off the earth. I reach up to the sky so I can keep believing anyway when my heart can ache from a disappointment.
These lessons teach me (us) to go deeper. They teach us to find out what might be missing from our internal world that needs attention. When we seek to fill a void with something else, there is almost a guaranteed certainty that you will be disappointed.
So what to do? Lately, I have been big on these SMALL JOYS I write about. I also discuss in my upcoming book. I keep my little life busy with personal tasks of moments that I know can infuse my soul with some joy.
In the mornings I have my cup of coffee in my favorite coffee mug, while watching the birds feed off the birdseed in my tiny backyard. I relax for a moment and enjoy the actual taste of the coffee. I savor the smell, the temperature and they way it feels when I hold it in my hands. I usually tilt my head sideways as I take in the this silent, attentive moment that is capturing a small portion of my day. I am there. I am watching the birds from my neighborhood eating the birdseed I laid out for them. I sit there in my pajamas in the early a.m. light not being disturbed by anyone or anything. On the days I start of like this, I can observe usually my mood is more upbeat. This is an example of a small joy to fill my day.
I also take time to read books. I take time to take breaks from my goals, my deadlines, my friendships and time that might prevent me from feeling soulful. I make time for that soulful stuff. I make it my mission. I place it first. I don’t want to just be pushing and pulling for the next achievement, minute, moment, I want to be relaxing down to the core of my bone by unraveling what makes my soul feel most comfortable.
Why is this important to do?
If you learn to cultivate your own soulful life, these steps can protect you and help you recover from the harder moments or the disappointments that may be just around the corner. You must prepare your soul for victories and defeats. If something hurts deeply, reach for the tiny joys you have discovered that can make your heart sing to lean on during the tough times.
Find out what makes you tick. Don’t stay lost in another person. Don’t stay glued to the gossip. Relax and step away. Discover some Non Attachment time. I know. This may sound a little boring. But you might be surprised by what you find if you go digging around in the deep recesses of your untapped soul. You might discover a new hobby, an invention, a new career, a business, something that just sets your life on fire that had been missing.
So make some ME time. It’s good to relax and breathe. Don’t be too sad if you miss that one party you thought you could go to. Don’t worry. Another special occasion will come your way. You can make something new happen for yourself every day. One of my favorite quotes ever is by Norman Vincent Peale. This quote has pulled me through the darkest hours, outlining a ray of hope just sparkling on the shoreline, just in reach of my next dream: “Don’t let your circumstances defeat you. Be bigger than your circumstance.” Something like that anyway.
I liked how he laid it out. As if yes, indeed, life can be a game. You win or you lose. And in the end it is up to us. What defines us, what breaks us, what mold us, what person we want to shine for the world to see? What mark are you hoping to make in this life? These are important things to ponder. So set your party hat down. Don’t go out with your friends every night. Take some quiet time away from your children or your partner and make a few moments for yourself.