Tag Archives: attachment

Let it go!

Recently, a friend of mine wrote that “desire and attachment are the causes of suffering”. I wanted to pick a nit with that statement, but he’s disabled comments on his blog, so I guess I just need to write about it on my own. 😉

Desire alone doesn’t cause any suffering. I, for example, desire a beer. This causes no suffering at all. I decide to go to the fridge and get a beer. Now I open the refrigerator and find… no beer! Here is where the attachment comes in to play. If I was attached to the idea that going to the fridge would fulfill my desire, then I am now suffering, because my desire remains unfulfilled. How dare the refrigerator be devoid of beer! Such injustice! Who drank the last beer?!?

But if we don’t get attached to the preconceived idea of having our desire fulfilled, if we simply let the desire exist, then the suffering is avoided. So here I am, desiring beer and having none in the refrigerator. I can check to see if there’s some warm beer lying about that I could put in the refrigerator. I can, if the desire is strong enough, get dressed and go to the bar or the party store and purchase beer. I can open a bottle of wine. I can brew a mug of tea and leave my desire for beer behind me. Suffering is, really, a choice that we make.

So why would anybody ever choose to suffer? Good question! I wish I knew, but we certainly do. Even with a firmly stated goal in my head these past several months of accepting what is and making the best of it, I still sometimes fall into the trap of becoming attached to a particular outcome, and the suffering can be mighty.

Observe what is.
Contemplate what you want.
Take reasonable action to achieve your desires.
But accept whatever the result is, and make the best of it.
Choose acceptance, not suffering.
Wash, rinse, repeat.

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