Attachment = Misery
All unhappiness stems from one thing - attachment. Attachment is a broad term - but it encompasses all the things we hold on to - including misery and dissatisfaction. Why would we have attachments if it causes so much misery? There must be a benefit. The main benefit is safety and comfort. We attach to things so we do not have to face what it feels like to be free and perhaps a little bit vulnerable. We don't like change. We want attention, for people to feel sorry for us, or somehow we are punishing ourselves for whatever reason. Humans are complex and we were placed here on this planet to go through all this suffering in order to wake up and realize the suffering actually can be overcome by simply letting go of attachments, control, and fear. Trust that things will be ok no matter what is happening at any given moment. Even the worst situation, death, war, torture, etc.. all these things can be overcome by releasing attachment, rising above and beyond the physical and realizing that we are immortal beings, we have lived many times before, and this one small lifetime is just a fraction of what exists. We are so consumed by our physical reality we forget who we are and why we are here. We are here to grow as souls and elevate each other - become awakened and awaken each other. To love and be loved. Be love.
Humans have been playing a game for many thousands of years, and its those who see the game and watch from the outside who realize that there is more to life than this "game".
It is also important to remember that all experiences, good and bad, are happening for a reason. Those who are not awake are just as important as those who are awake and aware. We need each other to grow. The universe is balancing itself out no matter how much destruction there is in this world. But if you can become awakened and rise above it, live with love and compassion, be love - life will become much more simple. Those small things that bothered you will no longer bother you. Those big things that bothered you will no longer bother you. Life becomes a meditation - where you grow, learn, and move on. Stop dwelling on what was - and be in the present of what is. Be thankful every moment of every day. Even if you slip into some negative mindset - catch yourself - pull yourself back out of it and remind yourself of who you are - an infinite being of love.
Be satisfied with what you have
It is human nature to compare to others. There's a tendency to want what we don't have and not appreciate what we do have. Here is a perfect example:
I was in Cuba, thoroughly enjoying the sunshine, warm weather, and ocean. One day I was in the bank there and a Cuban employee started to talk to me and found out I was from Canada. Then what he said thoroughly surprised me: "I would rather have seasons that change, you know, spring, summer, fall, winter.. Its always so hot here, I don't like it."
Of course any Canadian hearing this would say NO WAY, you should be grateful for what you have. I tried to tell him that... but he was stuck on not being satisfied with the weather he gets to have daily.
I realized how much humans lack gratitute, which causes a lot of misery and depression. It is a sickness of human society. Canadians just want the constant warm weather, Cubans want cold. A curly haired person wants straight hair, visa versa. Why are we never satisfied??
We tend to attach so much to the physical body, our physical reality, and forget who we are and why we are here. Our circumstances tend to take over and we get sucked into this constant attachment, dissatisfaction, and always wanting more.
How to break this cycle?
Be grateful. For everything. Find the goodness in everything. Things that seem negative and bad are actually a lot to do with the human perspective. Good and bad is based on opinion - my reality of a situation might not be the same as yours. You choose your reality. So you can complain and say that you hate winter, or you can look for the goodness in what you have - snow is beautiful; look - how it covers the earth like a beautiful white blanket, it represents hibernation and sleep before a brand new beginning. Thank the universe for giving your the opportunity to experience all the seasons including winter.
Every experience has a lesson, a gift. You can choose to see only the negative and be miserable, or, connect the ultimate joy of life...joy doesn't come from external, material things. True joy, satisfaction, and gratitude, are all within. Meditate on this.
Spiritual Lessons From my Electric Car
I decided to recently invest into an electric car – the Nissan Leaf - as it suits my way of living by contributing less to emissions and global warming. I chose to trust my intuition and went for it without much thought – perhaps it’s the impulsive Aries in me. I usually find my decisions with the least thought turn out to be the best decisions. And here is what my Leaf is teaching me...
First – it is a symbol of growth.
On the outside, it looks like a fancy, perhaps materialistic product of modern society. I look at it differently. It is a symbol of my beliefs and growth as a human. I’ve never actually invested into something so expensive that I can call my own. It represents a part of me that craves independence and stands up for her beliefs even if others frown upon it. And, it may just be a car, but I intend to inspire people to get one like mine, to help save the earth. Small steps can make a big difference – even if it’s one person at a time.
Second - non attachment to money.
I had to trust the universe that money is energy – it comes and goes. I had to give up a big portion of my savings which was easy yet difficult. Non attachment and trust is necessary in this case.
As the employee at the dealership was counting some money I brought, I watched and said – “Actually I don’t really care that much about money – its just pieces of paper!! Non-attachment... money comes and goes.” They probably thought I was crazy at this point. Her response: “well you may not care about money but a lot of people do!!” (she said this light heartedly, but it made me realize how consumed by money this world really is, and I am trying to separate myself from this). I encourage everyone to do the same – stop being a slave to money. Enjoy life for what it is, we are here to help each other, grow, and elevate ourselves. Material things will never bring true happiness.
Third – Slow down, be in the moment, have patience.
One thing I realized after driving this car for just a few days is the battery gets drained much faster during high speeds. My pace of life is going to change a bit now by request of my car. I may not always take the highway and speed to my final destination the way I used to. What has happened is I am literally enjoying every moment of driving, slowly accelerating and slowly turning, seeing everything in the moment, and this slower pace has actually reduced my anxiety while driving. I feel like I am living “yoga” while driving – I’m meditating and fully aware of my surroundings. This car doesn’t give many options for driving fast without draining the battery quickly – i take this as a way to slow down and enjoy the ride. Yet another symbol – slowing down and enjoying the ride of life. Its not about the destination, its about the journey.
Elvira is a Licensed Naturopathic Doctor and Certified Yoga Instructor. She combines her knowledge of the naturopathic modalities with mind-body therapy, yoga, ayurveda, exercise, and energy healing.