Giving it up

There will be many times in our life when we are called to ‘give something up’ maybe chocolate, alcohol or meat. Maybe it is something more than what we put in our bodies, it could be giving up a person, an idea or maybe something that we enjoy doing. Maybe it’s leaving a job or a town. Maybe something or someone is taken away from us.

Giving things away can stimulate the part of us that is needy and clingy. When we consider giving away something or someone we often fall in into a pattern of thinking about loss. We don’t want to give up our habits, our people, our ways of doing something  because we like things the way they are now. We are happy. We want to cling on to that which makes us happy or we think makes us happy. Leaving something behind, forgoing something or changing the way we do something is difficult, messy and is bound to make us miserable.

Buddhist psychology says that the only cause of unhappiness and suffering is clinging, grasping or holding on to what we have now.  However the only fact of life is that change is constant. Therefore if we are to be truly happy in this life we must accept that these losses, changes and shifts are as much a part of our life and have as much of a right to be here as what is seemingly stable and unchanging. If we consider our life to be more like seaweed moving on the currents of the ocean, meeting the changes of the sea, we are less likely to experience our changes or loss as suffering but more of a gentle shifting to a higher ground.  This way we learn to accommodate the changing tides of both gain and loss in our life with more ease.

Practice: Not every change or loss in our life is going to feel good. We can lessen our suffering  by practicing non-attachment to what we have now. We can make our life more fluid and pain free by moving in the direction of each change or loss as if it was a gentle nudge to move us in the direction that we should be going. Observe your feelings this month by watching your thoughts and actions when you feel loss is about to arise or if something is taken from you. Remind yourself that every new state is also temporary.



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