“Our hold on the things we cherish is like our grasping the blade of a knife; the tighter we grasp, the more pain and damage when it is pulled from our hand.”
When Buddhists Attack – J.K. Mann
Attachment. The one thing we can count on. Like the sun and the wind – always there. Always ready to act. Attachment is the one constant most of us can speak to with some experience. Anyone who claims having found how not to be attached is very likely attached to ego – or has truly reached enlightenment – at which point they would not likely claim it as such.
Attachment is ubiquitous. Attachment to work, and the belief that success and wealth will bring happiness. Attachment to health, and the hope that prolonged life will bring moments yet to be experienced. Attachment to power, and the desire to control what can never be controlled. Attachment to fear, and the worry that issues and events will destroy our plans. Attachment to words and the false wisdom that owning and speaking words often falsely portrays.
Attachment to desire, and the craving that leads us to seek externally what can only be discovered from a journey within. We are born into desire, desire for life – but not into attachment and tension. Attachment and tension arise from wanting, from craving, from desire beyond a desire for life. From wanting more than giving.
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
~ T. S. Eliot
Over time, we grasp and hold so strongly to things, to people, to moments, to memories – that we choke the very life out of the life which surrounds us. We grasp through craving. We grasp through wanting. We grasp through endless desire. We grasp through a vicious circle of grasping for the sake of grasping, for we are taught and observe in others the fruits of grasping – the spoils of craving – and the belief that more is better.
At one moment, all that grasping and wanting fails – and we fall. And when we fall, we choose. We either fall into fear and anger, and choose to re-emerge stronger, hungrier. Most who fall choose this path, for it is expected by society.
Alternatively, fall into a bottomless well of wonder, unknown – but relieving. A relief from years of grasping, for there is nothing to grasp as we fall. We enjoy the fall and the relaxed feeling of knowing that grasping would only harm our hands and get in the way of enjoying the journey. Observe the fall. Notice the sensations of the fall. Enjoy the peace that comes from flowing and being fully present in pure perception.
At one moment, the pain and grief that comes from grasping becomes as clear as a blue sky – we have grasped without conscious thought. We have programmed ourselves to grasp, want and crave. We have been tense and tight due to the many years where we thought that holding onto something – or someone – would keep them from leaving, changing, ending.
At that moment, we discover death arising from our own grasping, craving and desires. Death of moments of beauty. Death of friendships. Death of honest work. Death of our own health. Death of life itself.
In relaxation lies life. In detachment lies flow. In releasing tension lies peace.
“The only thing that Ueshiba Sensei taught of true value was how to relax”
~ Koichi Tohei