Monday, April 30, 2012

Let it Go and love, or Some Thoughts on Being Zen

Let It Go, and love
watercolor, ink, gel pen on paper

One of the things I have never quite managed to figure out is the practice of non attachment. The idea is that we don't hang onto our ideas of the way things should be, what we think we need, our desires.

I know some people have said that this would be bad because it would mean we have no ambition, no desire to change things for the better, it would be settling, but I don't really think that's what it means.

I think, although I'm by no means sure, that the concept of non attachment means we don't fixate on having our specific ideas come true. It's about accepting what is, about living in the present and the world that you are actually living in.

It doesn't mean that you can't work to improve things or WANT things. It's more like standing where you are and saying, "I am here," and having that be good. And being able to move, from where you really are, with all the tools you have at your disposal, to where you are going next, without ideas of what you SHOULD be doing or who you SHOULD be.

How do we stop fixating on what we think we SHOULD be? How do we let go of our ideas of what things SHOULD be like?

I'm still working on it, but I've worked up a few things.

1. Be who you are. Stop comparing yourself to other people. Someone will always have something you don't. Someone will always be better at something. You will always look to see where you are lacking in comparison. So stop it. They are them. You are you. Every life has struggles and every life has joys.

2. Pay attention to the positives. Stop focusing on the negatives in your life. Don't obsess over what you haven't achieved, what you don't have, what is wrong with you or your life. I know it's hard, when you feel like you should be fixing all these things that feel broken, but just think of all that energy you are giving to these negative feelings. Look instead at what you do have. Pay attention to that. Feed the positives in your life and they will grow. Look for the love. You'll find it.

3. Don't idealize things. Your idea of something you want may turn out to be a lot harder and more complicated and uglier than you first imagined. Like for instance, I thought this little post with the little illustration would be a lot easier than it's turning out to be. Hey, what could be easier, right? Let it go. Don't obsess. Focus on the love, right? But no, it led into non attachment, one of the most difficult Buddhist philosophies, which I have, honestly, been trying to figure out for 25 years, which of course, leads me to confusion and struggle. But maybe that also what it's about.

4. Don't over complicate things.  Am I making it more complicated than I need to? It just is what it is, right? Let it go means let it go. Don't fuss over getting it just right, allow it to be what it is. Don't add on what ifs. Don't try to make something that will stun the world with your genius. Don't over think it. Simplicity is often the key.

5. Accept it for what it is. Whatever it is. We're flawed. Period. We fall down. We make mistakes. We don't live up to our expectations. Even if we'd like to change things, where we are is still where we are. We can only be here, we can only change things from where we are, with the tools we have at our disposal.  We can only be who we are.

6. Let it go. Don't hold on to those fears and angers and upsets and pains and disappointments. Allow them, yes. Feel them, yes. Recognize that feeling the sad things does not mean that they will take over. You are strong enough to get through sad feelings, but they are part of life. So feel them, then let it go.
7. Say 'Yes' to life. When you hold on to all those negative things and feelings and shoulds, we close ourselves off to what is really out there. This is the "and love" part of the post, I think. Love is about yes, isn't it? It's about saying, 'yes, I see your beauty,' or 'yes, I see the possibility.' 'Yes, I will give you my time.' or 'Yes, I will risk being vulnerable to you."

I'm going to have to leave it at lucky seven. I am surprised at how much this supposedly quick post got me thinking. The funny thing, is that I had a more involved craft post that I thought would be too hard, but now I think it would have been a lot easier. 

What do you think of the idea of non attachment? How do you practice letting go? How do you love and accept an imperfect world and imperfect people for what they are?


lisa said...

I love the internet. I found your glitter meditation jar post today on Pinterest (thank you for the mistakes section) and then did a bit more reading I love this post! I once lived in Should Land then learned to let that go and it feels good to live away from that place. Of course it trickles back into my brain sometimes but at least I am aware. Just wanted to say loved reading this :)

Rowena said...

Oh I know Should land. I've spent a long time there. Thanks for the compliments.

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