The whole last week, in many different situations, with absolutely different people (actually, with most of the people I connected during the week), a special phenomenon was spying on me. I felt its piercing glance on my back. It was waiting for me around the corner in my favorite coffeeshop, it was spying under my bed, it was present in almost all of my whatsapp – conversations and of course it managed to creep into my head. Everything, what happened to me was somehow related to that spying phenomenon. It was screaming: “Hola, hola, hola, open your eyes, stupid!”*. What’s that, you might ask? That phenomenon is simply called:
We are absolutely attached to our past. To our past feelings, to out past situations, to our past lovers, to past experiences. We are absolutely attached to everything, that we feel is or was ours. We are attached to everything, that we think makes us – us. So that is one of the major sources of my personal misery – attachment to the past, which pops up here and there.
When I was attending my Vipassana meditation course, our teacher Goenka told us a cool story to understand the meaning of attachment: imagine, your best friend has a nice, expensive (let’s say Rolex) watch and it falls down and breaks in pieces. He starts crying and is very sad. But you are not crying nor are you too sad. Why? Because it’s not fucking yours. So what is the moral? We only “cry” for things that we see as our possession.
Absolutely the same can be applied to a feeling. I choose a romantic feeling, because everyone can relate to it. For example, I remember having a crush on a wonderful man. Each one of us has this one great, yes almost perfect, man or woman from the past. So he was so tasteful, cherished good wine, candles and loved the beauty and peace around him, living the so called “problem-free philosophy”. He was a gentleman, he was smart, funny and had all the other idealistic sides you see, when you have a crush on somebody. Like to good to be true. So I felt like a queen with him, that is what he made me feel, because he felt the same about himself. Things didn’t work out between us, which is totally ok and I needed a solid amount of months to digest it. But what was I digesting? I was digesting how I felt around him. So that is why it is still difficult to be open for other new experiences. Because I have this errounous understanding of how I should feel. I am attached to that very pleasant sensation.
Long story short: He seemed to be a wholehearted person (yes, with his weirdness and flaws), who is taking the most advantages out of the given and who is enjoying life and himself. I am still on my way to the whole-heartedness, so I felt sad and insecure, when he wasn’t by my side anymore.
A few of my friends are going through breakups now and all I hear from them is their heartsickness about the “other half”. Well, it made me think if we really are missing that special person? Especially in those moments in life, where they just damage our inner world? Being honest and rational, I can’t imagine that. Why would we want to feel something bad? But we do, we do, we do and we do all the time. Because it is the attachment. The attachment to people, to things, to places.
It is our EGO, trying to convince us that we need that place, that we need that special person, that we need that special thing. It is our ego, which causes that inner suffering and discomfort. It is our insecurity of being alone, trying to win over our higher conscious mind, telling us that we are not enough by ourselves.
Currently I am highly sensitive to attachment, because I had so many situations in my life where I knew, now is the time to let go. And the more I was sure, that I have to let go, the more difficult it became. The more reasons I’ve found not to, the more I wanted to talk about it. Logically – I became even more attached.
It is like smoking. It is the attachment to that feeling of imaginary “freedom”, “safety” and “coolness” you experience, while smoking. I know it pretty well because I used to smoke too. I was attached to that actually quite unpleasant experience. But I just succeeded to quit, because I let go of that attachment to those “relieving” feelings. I overcame my heartache, because I let go of the attachment to that special and unique feeling I had.
Meditation helps me here very much. Especially because the technique I practice is the non-attachment to sensations and feelings. Either pleasant or unpleasant sensations. It is about experiencing them, being aware of them, but letting them go. If I compare the period of digesting a special event or feeling a few years ago and today, the relation is huge. Sometimes, I used to suffer even for years and now it takes a few days or even hours. Sometimes I succeed to let go of a feeling just in time. But it is a practice. It is like sports or a diet. It is effort and it isn’t always easy. And doesn’t have to be.
Experiencing pain, experiencing heartache, experiencing love, experiencing happiness, experiencing possession, experiencing fear and insecurities: all of it is cool. It is normal and it is human. But being aware of it, why you experience it now. Being aware, that it is not you, but just a feeling or a thought you are having now. Being aware where those feeling are coming from. That is what makes us being closer to our true selves. That is what brings us back home. That is what makes us feel alive. That is what makes us unattached. That is what makes us love again and again.
Experiencing and then letting go. Letting go. Letting go.
That is the mastery.
*I refer to Rudy Mancuso, love that funny guy!