comes from fear. Fear is good when danger is imminent. It makes us
protect ourselves. But most of us worry too much. We worry that things
will happen that will give us stress. We will have to adjust to new
circumstances, and we are just not sure we are up to that, or we are
feeling attached to the way things are now. The way things are now may
not be that great, but we’d hate to have to deal with change. Some of
us think, “My house is too small, but I’d hate to be without it. My
relationship doesn’t work that well, but I’d hate to be alone. My job
is horrible, but what would I do if I didn’t have it?”
To loosen our
attachments requires a leap of faith. We need to have the confidence
that we will be okay without that to which we are attached. Jesus and
Buddha both taught this lesson. (Here is a rule of thumb: If Jesus and
Buddha both taught something, it’s worth paying attention to no matter
who you are). Jesus told his followers not to worry about food and
clothes. The birds don’t worry about storing up food, but they are
taken care of. Flowers don’t worry about clothes and yet they are
beautiful (Luke: 22-28). Buddhist monks have for millennia followed
Buddha’s example of owning nothing but simple clothing and a bowl with
which to accept food given in kindness. How gutsy is that, to put
oneself in the position of having nearly nothing? To do that you need
to trust that you will have what you need and confidence that you don’t
The notion of
impermanence fits in with staying loose too. Giving up our attachments
is easier, in fact only makes sense, when we understand the truth of
impermanence. Nothing lasts forever. This too, whatever it is, shall
pass. I can cling to my things, my relationships, my feeling states,
and as hard as I cling I cannot keep them the same or keep them
forever. Trying to hold on to the status quo only creates suffering.
Staying loose in
a way that reduces suffering requires ethics. If we just let go of our
desires, we may fall into an apathetic vagrancy out of which nothing
good comes. Becoming non-attached to the causes of suffering and
desirous of the relief of suffering in others, we open the possibility
of a good and beautiful life.
things in mind, we might affirm the following:
change. I can adapt.
What I have, I
may lose. If that happens, I will be OK.
I have enough. I
will have enough. If I seek, I shall find.
I can’t have
everything that I prefer and not everyone wants what I want.
loosen my grip on my desires.
I stay loose.
I seek the good.
I strive to
I attune myself
toward the ways of nature.
I orient myself
toward dealing in reality.
I do not rigidly
attach myself to my conceptions of what reality is or could be.
Instead, I live
in the moment
I am willing to
let go of the causes of suffering.
I work toward
conditions that reduce suffering.