… and then the next thing happens

 
“The awakened sages call a person wise when all his undertakings are free from anxiety about results.”
~ Krishna from The Bhagavad Gita 
 
 
There is a Zen Buddhist teaching of "non-attachment"; in yoga, it is called apigraha, the fifth yama, literally the non-accumulation of worldly objects, but it goes much beyond just material objects. Non-attachment is the concept of letting go; to me, that includes letting go of that which no longer serves my highest and greatest good, of being able to move into a place of acceptance easily when things are as they are and cannot be changed. It’s knowing that my happiness is not tied to things or places or people. My happiness and joy are always with me. My happiness is not attached to – dependent on – a person, place or thing.
 
Change is constant in life. To quote Zokestu Norman Fischer:
" … whether we let go or not things will slide away and we won’t be able to prevent it. Better to let go and cooperate with the way things are than to try fruitlessly to resist the irresistible shape of reality…. This is really the kindest way to live and it is the only way to love: to let each thing really be what it is and then to let it go – to let it be free. To try to hold ourselves or our world or another person in place is impossible. Nothing can be held in place."
 
Every moment is here … and then is gone. As one of my yoga teachers would say "… and then the next thing happens". Whether we bid it to happen or not, the next moment will happen nonetheless and then be gone, so we shouldn’t become too attached to it. Be fully present to the moment, acknowledge the pleasure (or pain) in the moment and then release it. It’s already released you.
 
It seems to me that non-attachment is something that I’ve been working with for longer than I knew the concept existed. A man I loved once told me "the only problem in our relationship is that you don’t need me." And it was true. I wanted him in my life, I loved him and wanted to be with him, but need him? No. I’m not needy or clingy or dependent; truly, it hadn’t ever occurred to me to "need" a person in order to be happy. I was already happy; my happiness dwells within me, I don’t gather it from someone or something outside of me.
 
I continue to gain a greater understanding of and appreciation for non-attachment. We often see situations where a person is so tied – so attached – to an outcome, that they are devasted when the outcome is not what they’d attached themselves to and it cannot be changed. (Disclosure: I’m a bit like that with lottery tickets; always amazed that I didn’t win the big jackpot – lol!) They are sorrowful, confused, deeply hurt, maybe angry. (Think those TV reality contests.) They can’t fix the unfixable, so what to do? Accept it, gently release it and move on in grace and love.
 
A couple of weeks ago, my company had a reduction in force and my job was one of several that were eliminated. I found it very easy to move into a place of acceptance as I sat in the HR office. The company had detached me, so I had to detach myself from the company. I couldn’t change it, so why get angry or emotional in any way? I accepted it and began to think of my next steps. Releasing the previous job opens up more space in my life to devote to searching for my next great job. I’ve defined what I want, I’ve focused my intentions and I’m taking the action steps I need to take to manifest my career desires in my life.
 
Fischer also writes "If you let go a lot you have a lot of happiness; if you let go a little you have a little happiness; and if you can’t let go at all you will have a lot of misery." Throughout our lives, people, friendships, places, jobs, homes, health can come and go; being able to release these things emotionally when they’ve been removed from our lives helps us remain healthy and strong, and most of all, blissfully happy.

 

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1 Response to … and then the next thing happens

  1. Carol says:

    Hi, I came here from Thotman\’s space…and I\’m glad I did.  I love this post!  (although I\’m sorry about the loss of your job)  The most difficult thing to do in life is to be aware of the moment, not concerned about the future.  Thank you for the quote…no anxiety about results…I will immediately try to apply that to my piano practice today (as soon as everyone wakes up).  

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