An Excerpt from Letting Go So You Can Thrive: Exploring Attachment and Connection to People and Situations. Late joining this series? Catch up on Part 1!
This is the second in a four-part series, intended to help you learn different aspects about attachment and letting go so you can nurture and heal yourself and truly BE all that is possible for you.
Letting go helps us to live in a more peaceful state of mind and helps restore our balance. It allows others to be responsible for themselves and for us to take our hands off situations that do not belong to us. This frees us from unnecessary stress.– Melody Beattie
The following is an excerpt from my book: Letting Go So You Can Thrive
Buddhism teaches that it is our attachment to things that causes our suffering. In other words, our attachment to outcome, personal belongings, our past, and our bodies; anything that is outside of us to include even our attachment to the idea of Self.
Anytime you feel suffering, you can look at what is causing it and directly trace it to an attachment to something.
I do this often, and it does give great insight. For example, is it the loss of a job that causes suffering or the attachment to what the money from that job can bring? Most people who have become unemployed end up better off long-term in some way. It doesn’t always change the emotional response, but sometimes it helps make it more appropriate to the situation. I see every loss of my past as delivering me into opportunity; of course, sometimes it takes longer to realize what the opportunity or the blessing is!
Usually, when discussing attachment, someone is bound to ask the question, “but what about love?” Isn’t it a normal human instinct to search for and find love, particularly in the form of relationships and attachment to a partner? And if so, how do we reconcile the idea of non-attachment with the notion of love itself? How can we love and not feel some attachment?
In pondering this question, I have arrived at some conclusions that ring true for me:
Attachment is not what we need to be seeking. It is what we think we should look for- but what we actually want as humans with a great capacity for love, is a connection. We want to find people to share our true core-selves with; someone who doesn’t run screaming once they hear our darkest thoughts, our past mistakes, our quirks, and our dreams. We want people who accept us completely as the incredible spirit we are, not as the fallible human we exist as. We want to be accepted wholeheartedly and fairly as our soul-essence; not our behavior.
What we first need to do is connect to ourselves in this way, forgive ourselves our faults and strive to be authentic to the Soul-essence we are at our core. In other words, we want to be learning and accepting who we are at all levels of our being and letting it shine for all to see.
The Dalai Lama once said, “Always see the human inside, not their actions.” While I’m not perfect, I do look for the Spirit inside and try to connect with that rather than attaching myself to how I think a person should behave or has acted in the past. This approach has served me well.
For instance, I know no negative people, I know no bad or evil people; I see good people everywhere I look. I do see misguided choices from places and perspectives I cannot understand but accept as true for the person.
Am I just attracting beautiful people or is it that I don’t see the bad others see anymore? I don’t know, all I know is that I love human beings and believe each and every one of them is, at their core, good.
I know this all sounds fantastic, but what does this look like in real life in a love relationship?
Here are a few strange and random questions:
- In your relationship or those you are nurturing, are you focused on getting your love to propose or are you focused on taking care of him or her?
- Are you taking care of him or her to get him to marry you or love you, or are you doing it because you love them and value all humans as worthy of love?
- Are you being yourself with them, or are you afraid of showing your ‘peculiarities and peccadilloes’?
- Are you angry at your partner because they didn’t pick up their socks, or are you smiling because yet again this person you love didn’t pick up their socks?
- Are you attached more to the idea of their tidiness than connecting to their heart?
- Are you connected to behavior, or are you seeking a real heart to heart connection that transcends all the little attachments to what everyone tells you a relationship should look like?
Attachment to the idea of what a love relationship should be like is probably why they often fail.
What should always be the goal of both partners is to keep the connection. Allowing a person their mistakes, giving them the freedom to come and go and trusting your ability to deal with it if they choose the latter is likely the most important aspect of non-attachment that you can practice. Meanwhile, keeping a healthy dose of that same connection to your soul so that you know when your own behavior is at the extreme and on the unhealthy end of the spectrum. You can love a person and not want to live with their destructive behavior. You can love a person and not want them as part of your life. This is perfectly fine and in fact, an essential part of thriving!
In part three of this series, we will dive deeper into and come to better understand what this idea of letting go is all about.
Are you ready to make personal and spiritual changes in your life? Consider a one-on-one private session with Moira or a reading to free yourself from limitations, and open yourself up to greater possibilities. You’re invited to open the door.