A COMPLETE GUIDE TO HAPPINESS AND PEACE BY LETTING GO OF ATTACHMENT
You can give up attachment but the problem is that you don't want to give it up. Then the real question is: how to give it up?
Think about a situation:
Will your body, family, friends, wealth and property with which you have attachment live with you forever? Now you have no remembrance of the body and family with which you had attachment in your previous life. Similarly you will have to leave the things with which you have attachment now. Attachment will lead you to nothing but bondage. On the other hand, if you give up attachment you will get freedom, peace, joy and bliss.
For example, the house you are sitting in that is probably not yours. But are you not getting all the comforts of light, fan, shade etc. You are getting comforts but you are detached from it. Now if the same house is yours (i.e. owned by you) and you have attachment towards it and it is destroyed, you shall surely be worried and perturbed. Thus, this attachment will be harmful.
Everyone wants to feel happy and everyone wants to avoid getting hurt. Yet you have a tendency to put yourself in situations that set you up for pain. Pretty much all of your struggles, from frustrations to anxiety, from anger to sadness, from grief to worry, all stem from the same thing: Attachment.
The struggles come from being attached too tightly to things.
When you’re worried, you are tightly attached to how you want things to be, rather than relaxing into accepting whatever might happen. When you’re frustrated with someone, it’s because you’re attached to how you want them to be, rather than accepting them as the wonderfully flawed human beings that they are.
You have pinned your happiness to people, circumstances, things and situations. You are content only if things, people and situations happen and work according to your will. You stress about the possibility of losing them when things seem amiss. And then finally, you melt into grief when things change: a lay-off, a breakup, or a loss.
Your attachment to feelings define you. In trying to hold on to what’s familiar, you limit your own ability to experience joy in the present, due to the suffocation in the fear of losing what you already have.
When you stop trying to own, grasp and control the world around you, you give it the freedom to fulfill you without having the power to destroy you. That’s why letting go is important— letting go is actually letting happiness in.
Attachment gives rise to expectations, which if not fulfilled can kill you from within. But if you are not attached, you will do good for people, help them and do everything but not expect anything in return.
All of us should be like a nurse: a nurse serves a sick person, takes utmost care of him, helps him with everything but in the unfortunate event he dies she won't mourn over it but carry on with her work with dedication. True, right?
Similarly, we can just serve people, live in the present but not hold onto things, people and situations; wanting them to last forever. It's the now that we have, not the future.
I understand it’s easier said than done. Any of us who have tried to let go of attachments know that it’s not easy in practice. When our minds are clinging tightly, we don’t want to let go. We really, really want things our way. But letting go of attachments is very important for our mental peace and our happiness.
So, what’s the answer, then? In this short guide, we’ll look at a few practices to overcome attachment.
1. Experiencing without attachment
Accept the moment for what it is. Don’t plan about how you can make the moment last forever. Just seep into the moment and enjoy it, because it will eventually pass. Nothing in this world is permanent.
2. Believe now is enough
It’s true — tomorrow may not look the same as today, no matter how much you try to control it. A relationship might end. You might have to move on, you’ll deal with those moments when they come. All you need right now is to appreciate and enjoy what you have. It’s enough.
3. Define yourself in fluid terms
We are all constantly evolving and growing. Define yourself in terms that can you can change. Defining yourself by possessions, relationships and roles leads to attachment, because loss entails losing not just what you have, but also who you are.
4. Enjoy now fully
No matter how much time you have in an experience or with someone you love, it will never feel like enough. So don’t think about it in terms of quantity; aim for quality. Attach to the idea of living well from moment to moment. That’s an attachment that can do you no harm.
It means ‘thank you’ in Chinese. Fully embrace your happy moments— be so passionate it’s contagious. If a darker moment follows, remember: It will teach you something, and soon enough you’ll be in another happy moment to appreciate.
6. Zen your now
Experience, appreciate, enjoy, and let go to welcome other experiences.