An Unhappy Monk

While I don’t consider myself an enlightened  Buddhist, I do subscribe to many of the teachings of Buddhism. It seems to be such a no-nonsense, practical way to look at life usually and besides that, I’ve never seen an unhappy monk!

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Often times when I find myself in a state of uneasiness, I look to those who seem to have a process I might follow that will work for me in any given situation. This is where the principles of the Buddha’s teachings showed up for me.

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These philosophies and principles are based on the universal truth that nothing lasts forever.

I used to have a bit of a self-deprecating statement that I had an attachment disorder. Now, I’m not so sure that this is a bad thing, maybe it turns out it is a really good thing.

This does not mean that things, people and places are not important to me, that couldn’t be further from the truth. I absolutely love deeply and those who enter into my life and make any type of impact, regardless of the length of time experienced, are held in my heart for life.

What this does mean is that I allow the place, person or object to be what it is in each moment. Today they may be part of my everyday routine or with me for my morning coffee, tomorrow they may be a text message or video chat once a month or we reconnect at another time and location.

I may return to a place I once called home but I never experience it the same way. Change happens and people and places change, and if they don’t, I have. In this case to hold on to the expectation of what it used to be for me could cause a lot of disappointment.

This relates to the second Noble Truth that the origin of suffering is attachment. For me this does not relate to not being attached to the person or place, but to allow it’s place in my life to move with life itself.

For example, I will love my family eternally, that will surpass all constricts of time and space. I know this because 20+ years after my mother has died I still feel her love in different moments. I feel joy instead of sorrow because I have been able to release the need for the physical experience I used to have with her. I now am able to celebrate a more heartfelt experience of love washing over me as a butterfly flits by me while on a hike in the middle of any country I happen to be in.

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Because of this change in perspective or adapting to what is now and not suffering over what used to be that can’t be any more, I can truly celebrate the feeling. My mother’s love can reach me in places she never would have been with me. Those of you who knew my mother know she would never be on a cliff walk with me no matter how much she loved me!

Life is a constant state of evolution and these days change is happening quicker than ever before.  The more we cling to how things “used to be” or our expectations of how the “should” be, the more pain and suffering we cause ourselves. The more we adapt to how things are and find the celebration opportunities where we can, the more joy and peace we can have in our lives.

I encourage you to think about attachment in your life and how a new perspective might ease suffering, disappointment or sorrow for you and bring you more peace and joy.

In the end, we could all use a bit more peace and joy in our lives, couldn’t we?

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