Happiness comes from participating in the world and enjoying its benefits, but not being attached to them.
One of the happiest people I ever met was a teacher who travelled all over the globe. She was a wheelchair user, barely able to walk without crutches. I asked her for the secret of happiness. ‘If you really want to be happy,’ she replied, ‘let go of your attachments.’
‘That’s not possible,’ I replied. ‘I have a house, mortgage, children……’
She fixed me in her gaze and repeated, ‘If you really want to be happy, let go of your attachments.’
It took me a while to understand what she was driving at. We attach ourselves to things which appear solid and permanent. But this is an illusion because in time, they deteriorate or lose their appeal. Enjoy them, but don’t rely on them for happiness. If they’re no longer satisfying, release them.
Attachment also refers to mental and emotional states – hurts, grudges, anger, complaints and jealousy etc. When we detach from these, they no longer have any control over us and we find peace.
©David Lawrence Preston, 3.1.2017
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How to Books, 2007