Life’s Attachments: This and That

I cannot believe that a year ago I was on my Buddhist pilgrimage trip in India. I often think back to it wondering what was the biggest lesson I learned? Our guide told me at the end that my self-work going forward was to work on attachments. Hum, like attachments to the relationships in my life? Attachments to things? It left me wondering what exactly he meant by that. In the meantime, I still have on the string bracelet he tied around our wrists upon leaving. The bracelet that was a reminder of impermanence and how nothing lasts forever is still on my wrist a year later and I must say I have become quite attached to it!

What am I supposed to make of that I wonder? Is the bracelet now telling me some bigger lesson about attachment now? I have found its “permanence” to be quite humorous and it wasn’t until a recent meditation practice that I came to recognize perhaps what attachments I really needed to look at.

As I sat and simply felt my breath and watched my thoughts move in and out, I noticed the less obvious form of attachment, the more subtle form, such as what I wish, want and desire things to be, rather than what they are. I realize, as I am sure you do as well, that when life brings something challenging my way I wish and often expect for it to be different than as it is. It is human nature to want this to be. To wish the suffering wasn’t there anymore. The constant wish, left unchecked in the mind, can easily turn into the expectation that sounds something like, “it’s not supposed to be this way,” “Why is this happening?” And there settles in the attached mind. The mind that focuses on the way it should be different rather than the way it is. The mind that creates more suffering around what we are already suffering with. The non-stop cycle. After that meditation, I listened to a Dharma talk by Jack Kornfield (one of my favorites), on the attached mind. He said a few simple words which resonated with me throughout the day: Sometimes we have to go through this to get to that. Simply put, the understanding that what we really need is the love and willingness to show up for this life that will constantly bring a this and a that. The question is not in stopping the this and that’s or controlling them in some way, but rather, simply how do we show up for and with them.

For a little help in releasing the mind’s attachment, this month’s practice from my book is a simplistic one called Breath Inside the Body. A simple practice to invite you into releasing the attached mind.

This practice can be done while sitting or lying down. It is a great one to do in the morning or at the end of your day to help ease your thoughts and either awaken or go to sleep with a clearer mind.

1. Close your eyes and notice your natural breath moving in and
out through your nose.

2. Lengthen your inhalation to the count of 3 and slow down your
exhalation to the count of 6. Inhale 1, 2, and 3. Exhale 1, 2,
3, 4, 5, and 6.

3. With your next inhalation, notice where the breath begins in
your body. Does it begin in the lower half or the upper half?
Does it feel like it starts in your front body or back body?
Maybe you can get more specific and feel if it begins in one
particular space or another.

4. Now do the same for your exhalation. When you exhale, take
notice of where the breath ends. Is it in your chest? In your
stomach? Can you feel it in your back body or your front
body? Try to get more specific with each breath.

Watch how the simple focus on breath and body release the attached mind.

For more embodied practices and developing a deeper connection to your body read more in my book Befriending Your Body!

Also this month I’m proud to be included in Shambhala publications Inspiring Women’s month!
To celebrate the publisher is offering 30 % off through March 30th with the code March30

And big news! Stay tuned an audio book version of Befriending Your Body will be released soon!