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Reflect Out Loud

"The unexamined life is not worth living." – Socrates

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Non-attachment

Let Go of The Outcome

“The root of suffering is attachment.” – Buddha

I resonate with the above quote.
When I cling to people, places, material possessions, status, you name it, whenever the target of my clinging is threatened – I experience emotional pain – a.k.a “suffering.”

Sometimes that emotional pain is also linked to physical responses in my body. My heart beats fast, my stomach sinks, I feel nauseous, my temperature rises, I cry, I curl into a little ball in a stew of emotions.

I experience this roller coaster of symptoms when I lose.
When I lose that which I have become attached to.
Sometimes it even happens when I imagine loss. Or perceive loss.

The guy I have been dating is showing up online on a dating site.
So what does my heart do?
It tightens.
What does my mind do?
It races.

“Oh. I guess he’s still searching. I guess I haven’t made a big enough impression to get him to stop seeking. I guess he’s not that into me. I guess I’m not enough for him. Maybe he’ll meet someone else he’ll find more interesting and move on happily while I’ll be back to square one.”

Attachment. Fear based thoughts.

But what if I let go of the outcome? What if I pull back and re-frame my response?

Truth is – nothing belongs to me. Nothing is mine. I simply get to share temporary experiences in a fleeting, changing environment that I do not and cannot possess. Yet in an attempt to hold on, to keep for longer, to experience more of – I attach.

I say, “I want you.”
I say, “Be mine.”
I say, “Don’t leave.”
I say, “I don’t want to let go.”
I say “I don’t want to say good bye.”

And when I do this, I hurt. Because I am trying to hold onto what time is literally ripping out of my tiny little hands.

see-them-floundering

So then what is the way to relieve this?

Non-attachment. Letting go. Release the hold.

No attachment to the outcome.
No fear of letting go.
Pure surrender.

Does that mean that I don’t love? That I don’t care? That I don’t experience fully? No. Quite the opposite.

Every moment becomes extremely meaningful, because every moment is unique, special, fleeting, and forever elusive.

Through non-attachment every moment becomes lighter because it can pass through you without getting stuck. It can just come and go and there is no fighting to keep it, no fighting to get more of it, no fighting for its return. Everything can just be.

It can come and it can go.

And when it comes – what a joy to have it.
When it goes [breathes out]  what a joy to see it go.

This is true freedom.

*image credit to realbuddhaquotes.com

Rumination

Rumination, (thinking deeply about the same thing over and over again) is helpful in the sense that it reminds you of some unresolved issue. However, rumination can be detrimental to your wellbeing because it inhibits you from letting go and healing. Picking at the same old wound will never allow it to heal. Replaying the same old story in your head will keep you stuck like a CD with a scratch on it. You can’t move forward and grow if your mind is stuck on what happened two years ago. Letting go of the story in your head will allow you to begin to unburden yourself and become free of limiting thoughts that keep causing you pain in the present moment.

It can be hard to let go of the story in our head when we have become so identified with it. It is like a little piece of us. We think something like, “I will never forget the mean comment Jane made about me.” And then you keep thinking about Jane and her comment over and over again because you have chosen to commit to the thought that “I will never forget the mean comment Jane made about me.”

Holding on to the mean comment Jane made about you is not in any way serving you in a positive manner. What good is it doing to your mind, body, heart and overall wellbeing? None.

Let go.

So how do we let go of our limiting thoughts?

Practice non-attachment. When a repetitive thought comes to your mind, don’t feed the thought. Don’t become identified with it. Allow it to just pass through you. The thought will die if you do not feed it further energy. If you let the thought pass through you like a cloud or the wind, it’ll just pass without affecting you. Recognize that you are not your thoughts – you have thoughts, but you are not the thoughts. You are the awareness of your thoughts. Use your awareness to shine light on repetitive thoughts and realize “Oh, hey, there goes that bad thought again. I will just let it pass because this thought is not who I am.”

You can also practice meditation, which is getting the mind to become totally still. It quiets the analytical voice that is always playing in your head. You don’t have to meditate for long periods at a time. Even 10 seconds can help you become still. Start small. Focus on your breath. Breathing deeply calms your heart rate and brings your body to a state of relaxation. You can do this anywhere at any time. We all have at least 10 seconds to dedicate to our wellbeing.

Practice affirming rituals that remind you of who you are. When repetitive thoughts arise, interrupt them with affirming thoughts like:

I am consciousness.
I am in control of my thoughts.
I let go of old limiting thoughts.
I let go of painful memories.
I release all that does not serve me.
I am free.

You can repeat that to yourself like a mantra as many times as necessary until your mind becomes refocused on the truth of who you really are! You are life itself. You are not a scratched CD. You are not a song on replay. You are not your memories. You have memories, but underneath those memories you are pure consciousness first.
May you find peace in letting go.

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