Let me tell you something… anger, frustration, and sadness are not our enemy. Our attachment to these concepts is what causes pain.
You see, our brain is both amazing and incredibly annoying. As a species, we are gifted with the ability to plan, execute, consider consequences and implications and incorporate emotional intelligence into our reasoning for doing things. However, we also must deal with a thinking brain that tends to attach meaning to everything, to overthink every second thought and to create catastrophes from small, insignificant concerns. We can become so caught up in attaching meaning to both our thought processes and our emotional experience that we find ourselves attaching to that which is in constant flux.
Trying to hold onto things, people, or experiences, knowing that life is constantly moving just brings frustration, sadness, and anger. Many teachings tell us that attachment comes from fear and that this is the basis of suffering.
So why suffer if there is no need to?
The universe is in constant motion, so to try and halt this just brings pain and difficulty. Just as a flower arises from a seedling, to bud, to bloom and then over time to wither and die, we come into this life as a baby, we rise into adults, to fall down into old age. Our breath rises and it falls. The sun rises as the morning rolls in and then sets as dusk takes away the remnants of the day. Everything is in flux. Constant motion. The universe is in a constant expansion mode and our brain is recreating itself every single day. Can you see how expecting anything to stop and suspend itself in time and space is an act that will only bring suffering?
I’m aware of the pain that comes from losing a loved one. I remember so badly wanting to hold onto what was, to hold onto the security that came from my life before grief. I sabotaged my future by holding on and attaching to what I wanted so desperately. What I wanted to suspend in time and place, what I thought I needed to keep safe so that life would be OK and it would be manageable.
We hold onto relationships, experiences, the “old us”, ideas of who we dream of being, objects that mean something to us. We hold onto these things because letting go of them is difficult. It takes away that warm fuzzy feeling or it attracts a vice that attaches to our hearts and the feeling is both exhausting and too painful to experience.
What is it that you’re holding onto so tightly that’s causing you to miss what lights you up?
I’ve decided to stop using the word mindfulness and instead refer to it as awareness. So, in this sense, to become aware of what we are attaching to brings with it an awareness of what doors we’re still holding open without noticing and how much this is affecting our current experience. What are we still caught up in that’s sabotaging our happiness in the here and now? What do you need to let go of to start moving WITH life again?
“Things are what they are. We suffer because we imagined different”.
Drop the idea that if you can’t have someone or if you can’t have the house you want your life will be incomplete. That if you don’t get the job or the promotion you want that it will be a catastrophe. Because it won’t. If you don’t become dependent on the outcome, you never lose. Everything is temporary, experiences, people, relationships, nature, emotions, every moment to moment experience is never to be repeated. Don’t become too attached and settle into the flow. Rather than expending copious amounts of energy into resisting the natural rhythm of life, if we drop our resistance we have the energy and the resources to look after ourselves and we create space for all the good to start seeping in.
How can you become less attached and more present?
The next time you feel that flutter of happiness, or that “eep” of excitement, stop and enjoy that feeling and the sensations that are stirring in your body. Experience it, be with it and love that moment in all its beauty, knowing that those sensations will wain and that feeling will disappear. And when you strike difficult times, roll with them, with an awareness that this temporary moment won’t last forever either.
When you become aware that you’re upset, frustrated, jealous or nervous, notice that emotion and how it sits in your body. Notice how it rises and falls in your being and rather than attaching to it just allow it to reside in you. There’s no need to grasp at it, pull it apart, attach meaning to it and try push it away or fuel its fire.
Instead, you can PRACTICE NON-ATTACHMENT. Be aware of what you’re experiencing and let it do its thing. Allow it to rise and for it to fall. Notice its temporary nature and the sensations that come along with that. There’s no need to attach, everything is flowing as it should. So try going with the flow.
About Victoria Hood
Victoria has been working in the mental health and addiction field over the past 7 years since leaving University with an honours degree in Psychology. During her time spent working in addiction, Victoria was introduced to the practice of mindfulness. Since this time Victoria has become extremely passionate about incorporating mindfulness into both her professional and her family life.
Victoria has an honours degree in Psychology from the University of Canterbury. She is a Life Coach, Mindfulness Coach, Mindfulness Practitioner in schools and is a passionate holistic health and well-being advocate and facilitator of mindfulness based workshops.
More about Victoria…