“He who is overly attached to his family members experiences fear and sorrow, for the root of all grief is attachment. Thus one should discard attachment to be happy.” Chanakya
Are you holding onto something you need to let go of? Are you so attached to things, people, ideas, places that are present or absent from your life that you simply can’t be fully engaged in your day to day life?
Do you live with regrets?
When you wake up in the morning, do you express your gratitude for being able to experience another day on this planet or do you wake up feeling fearful about what the future might bring?
What’s your life really like?
I have come to realize that one of the most challenging things in life is to have to let go of our attachment of any kind – things, people, ideas, places, etc.
I know a wonderful woman who lost one of her two children years ago and she simply can’t find the strength to let go of the pain. She can’t let go of the image of her lost child and of this idea how things shouldn’t have happened the way they did. And now she lives in fear that the same thing might happen to her other child.
How to Let Go of Attachment
What can be more heart breaking than to lose your own child? How can anyone get over such a traumatic experience? Is that even possible?
“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.” ~ Kahlil Gibran
When a child dies, we see it as a tragedy and a lot of times the parents remain in a state of shock for the rest of their lives, not being able to give their love and support to the other members of their family, to their other children, for example, not realizing how great of an impact that would have on their lives
The author of Peter Pan, James Matthew Barrie and Vincent Van Gogh come to my mind when I think about this. For example, the famous painter’s brother died one year before he was born, and when he was born, Vincent received the same name as his dead brother.
Can you imagine how big of an impact that had on him? He lived a very unhappy life and I believe that among the many reasons of his unhappiness was the fact that he knew it was impossible to replace a dead brother, and because he knew that maybe his parents would’ve wanted him to be his brother, looking at him but seeing through him.
That’s just how I see it, my own personal belief, and a similar story to that of Vincent Van Gogh is that of James Matthew Barrie, the author of Peter Pan, who’s brother David, his mother’s favorite, died when James was 6 years old. The dead of David had a great impact on his mother who was devastated. As a child, James would wear David’s clothes, trying to get his mother’s love and attention, and one time, when Barrie entered her room, he heard her say: “ Is that you?” and he knew she thought it was his dead brother David, and he replied: “No, it’s not him, it’s just me.”
This trauma had a great impact on him, and if you are familiar with the story of his life, you know that he had a short stature, he suffered from psychogenic dwarfism and that he had an asexual adulthood, and all of these might have been as a result to all of those events during childhood, and the absence of love and affection of his mother.
We grow out of this world with nothing but our own souls, and we rent this body of ours that so many of us get way too attached to believing that we will live forever. That the people who are present in our lives would never leave us and that we would never leave them.
We simply can’t accept the fact that we are just passing through this world and that life is a gift given to us to enjoy but not to keep. And the same thing applies to the lives of our loved ones.
It’s really dangerous to hold onto everything and everyone, pretending that they belong to us, pretending that we own them.
Things don’t always happen the way we expect them to happen. People come and they go. They love us and then they leave us and even though it can be very painful to detach and let go of people, places, ideas, etc., it’s necessary.
So many of us behave as if the many people we know and love are our own possessions and as if they are going to be in our lives forever, and when something “bad” happens, when your partner leaves you, your child leaves home, your parents die, etc., we suffer a great deal. And when somebody you know and love dies, because you perceive death as being a very negative and painful thing and because you simply can’t accept the fact that they are gone, a part of you dies with them. You can no longer enjoy this gift that is called life because you are too caught up in your grief, your anger, your pain and suffering.
There is a wonderful quote from Louis XIV, also known as the Sun King who was the king of France, and he talks about this so beautifully:
“Why do you weep? Did you think I was immortal?”
Nothing is ours to keep. Not our bodies, not our possessions, not our families, not our friends… nothing! It’s all given to us for a short period of time, to enjoy but not to keep and only those who learn how to love everything and be attached to nothing will live fully and love passionately.
So learn to appreciate the life you now have. To appreciate and love your family, your friends, your pets and this beautiful planet but without being attached to them. Love everything but be attached to nothing because by doing so, you will live a happier, more passionate, meaningful and beautiful life. And when the time will come to let go, you will do so with a lot of grace and a lot of ease 🙂