This is a follow up to our previous post "Five words that can change your life."
From Thich Thien-An:
"Happiness is something very beautiful, just like a butterfly. On warm summer days the butterfly darts back and forth above the green grass and the colourful flowers, looking very beautiful. But one must not try to catch it, for when the butterfly is caught in the hand, it becomes no more than just an insect...If we try to grasp happiness and hold on to it forever, it will die in our hands. We must let its beauty come and go and enjoy it while it lasts."
Last week we encouraged you to take an honest assessment of your attachments. We discussed how attachments result from our desire to control an existence that is inherently uncontrollable. We grasp and cling (or push away and avoid) in the hope that we can create certainty and security amidst the changing nature of reality.
But, our attempts to create certainty and security cause us to suffer more than the impermanence of our experience:
A wise man once said,
"You aren't unhappy with the situation - you are unhappy because you want the situation to be different. You are attached to how you think it should be, and you can't move forward until you accept reality as it is."
If we don't let go of our attachments, we are dragged through a life of self-imposed suffering. We make ourselves into victims because things don't happen the way we want them to. We have a desire to control life, and if things don't go as planned we become frustrated, disappointed, resentful, angry, and more.
How do you let go? As with everything we discuss, the key is awareness.
Developing a consistent meditation practice and bringing mindfulness to your daily life helps you cultivate awareness (instructions here).