Your attachments matter that most
Here’s a really important exercise for you to do.
Reflect on the ideas and images in your mind to which you are attached. Identify your expectations about how the world should work and how you want you like to look. You can even grab a notebook and pen and write them down.
Your list might look something like this:
– I want to be in a happy relationship.
– I want to do well at work.
– I want to be fit and athletic.
– I want to spend time with my friends and family.
These are pretty common goals and expectations. Now, imagine all the ways in which these goals could go awry—even through no fault of your own.
You might spend years looking for a lifelong partner and find only short-term relationships. Consequently, you will see all your shorter relationships as failures and begin to feel inadequate.
You might be fired from your job and start to question how smart or competent you really are. Or you might despise your chosen career but feel trapped in it because changing careers would challenge your concept of yourself.
You might sustain an injury and have to spend several frustrating months in physical therapy, painstakingly returning to the same level of fitness (or less) as before.
And you will almost certainly lose some of your loved ones to accident or illness.
In all likelihood, you’ve already experienced some degree of suffering relating to the areas described above. These aren’t particularly pleasant topics to consider! Yet it’s important to understand the root of our pain so we can learn how to alleviate it.
In essence, the pain that arises from the above situations is due to excessive attachment.
Attachment to what? To our own self-image, our images of others, and our expectations about life.
For me, this meant stop fretting about my warehouse job (and what I perceived to be a lack of progress in life) and my everyday worries and insecurities. I started appreciating my loving family and the freedom I had to do what I wanted in life.
I decided to let go of ideas and images of how things should be, and more fully enjoy the way things were