In the world of Buddhism, there is one thing that causes suffering in the lives of us and those around us. While you might think there are a lot of things causing you to suffer, realistically they all boil down to one thing and that one thing is something we all need to work on.
One of the four noble truths of Buddhism (the second truth) is that suffering is caused by selfish cravings and personal desires which in a sense are one and the same. The more attached we are to our desires the more we will suffer. The cause of suffering is called samudaya or tanha. This is basically the desire to control things and bring forth everything we might crave.
Suffering comes forth because we set unrealistic expectations on ourselves and the people around us. We become so attached to ideas and hope for so much that we lose sight of where we are in our lives. We end up letting ourselves down and causing pain.
When we want to stop suffering we have to let go of that attachment. Through practicing non-attachment we can and will live a more content life and be far happier than we would be otherwise. Non-attachment for those who do not know is not the same thing as ‘detachment.’ Non-attachment is being mindful and present in our own lives to the point where we rely on our awareness instead of being of the world we must be in the world.
Zen Habits explains the following regarding letting go of attachments and reducing suffering within our lives:
The way to deal with attachments isn’t simple, and it takes practice.
Meditate daily, focusing on the breath for a couple of minutes every morning. See your suffering and your story and attachments, as you meditate. See this after meditation as well.
After a few weeks, add compassion meditation. Wish for your suffering to end, then expand it to others in your life, then to all living beings.
Learn to see your interconnectedness with others, and practice acceptance of the present moment exactly as it is, in little doses. Small steps. Practice expanding your mind to include these things and all other things in the present moment.
Then, when a difficult attachment arises in your daily life, see the suffering, see the attachment, and expand your mind beyond it, giving yourself compassion while seeing that you are bigger than this attachment. Let it be there like a little cloud, floating around in the wide expanse of your mind, and then lightly let it float away, rather than sinking yourself into it.
With practice, this method can result in contentment with the present, awesome relationships, and less procrastination and distraction.
If you want to stop being trapped in your life and in your own mind you have to be willing to let go of your desires on some levels and move forward in a new light. Regardless of your religious views, this Buddhist concept can work wonders in your life. Being more in the moment and letting go of the ego ride that others are so stuck in will make you a lot happier in the long-run.
No matter what kind of rut you’re stuck in, you can make your way out of it. Help others and help yourself, life is too short to spend it miserable.
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