As we are amid the holiday season, surrounded by festivities, radiant decorations, and a contagious holiday spirit, we may also be faced with or feel pressured to engage in a slew of “shoulds.” For example, I should feel joyous and merry; my family and friends should celebrate alongside me; I should receive the gift I want. Additionally, we may have a strong desire to avoid disagreements with family members, loneliness stemming from comparing our situation with that of others, and anxiety about what the New Year may bring. These challenges make sense, particularly when cultural and social mores and traditions may dictate how our reality “should” be.
Non-attachment is a concept defined as the ability to unstick from desires; let go of thoughts, opinions, and expectations of how things “should” be; and refrain from clinging onto our likes and preferences as well as avoiding or discarding the things to which we feel aversive. Alternatively, attachment can exacerbate our suffering, especially when we notice a discrepancy between our desires and reality. Rather than thinking about non-attachment as renunciation or dissociation, non-attachment is about finding the middle path between extremes and discovering freedom from the stronghold that our minds may have over us.
While I may experience disappointment because my friends are attending multiple parties, whereas I am not, can I encourage myself to unclench the tension in my body, relax my grasping on expectations, and change my relationship to my thoughts a little more? Surely, one option is to accumulate positive experiences and follow suit with additional party invitations. And, we can attempt to target and address the root, weed out our attachment to thoughts such as, ‘My self-worth depends on the number of parties I attend,’ and compassionately plant the seed of non-attachment. Perhaps, that may look like loosening up our expectations, challenging our cognitions and myths, and practicing dialectical thinking.
We hope that you may practice the gift of non-attachment.
WORDS OF WISDOM
MEME OF THE WEEK
Thich Nhat Hanh On Letting Go
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