“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything - anger, anxiety, or possessions - we cannot be free.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh, The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation
I have spoken a lot recently in my therapy on attachment and its involvement in unhappiness. Buddhism teaches that the end of suffering is through non-attachment. We attach ourselves to people, things, jobs, in order to gain something from them. It is our expectations of those attachments that bring us the most suffering. We cling to these things so strongly that we lose sight of ourselves.
For instance: We ask our husband to provide us with the happiness that we feel we cannot provide ourselves. We look to the job to give us meaning that we feel we do not have without it. We think our car will give us status, making us feel important and worthwhile. We need to ask ourselves “How much am I using these ideas/things/people to provide me with happiness when I am feeling a void of happiness for myself?”
We forget that we, ourselves, can be happy without craving and clinging to those things.
But we cannot live in a world without attachment. We all have relationships, things we own, jobs we go to, etc. Buddhism is not suggesting that you give up those things. It states that you cannot expect that those attachments will provide you with anything more than suffering. We have to be more mindful and aware. We can all look at our attachments in a different way: to look at these things are enriching our lives, not providing value to them.
How does it feel to heal your inner wounds? What does it mean to be fully alive?