I subscribe to the Zen Habits blog, and the posts are always helpful when I need more peace in my daily life. Recently, I came across a post that discussed how to let go of attachment, written as a guest post by Lori Deschene of Tiny Buddha. As long as you are trying to recapture what has been lost, or hold on to what you have, the author argues, you will never be able to fully be present and enjoy the moment you’re in.
We see many jobseekers who are having trouble letting go of the past. They long to turn back time and recapture their former employment. Who can blame them? They had more money; they felt useful and more important. But as long as they are focused on what was, or even what might be in the future, they have trouble enjoying what they have now.
The post suggests defining yourself not by what you have(including a job), but by who you are. If you were a strong, happy, hardworking, loving person before you lost your job, you still are that person today.
Here are some wonderful tips from Zen Habits about letting go.
Experiencing Without Attachment
Accept the moment for what it is. Don’t try to turn it into yesterday; that moment’s gone. Don’t plot about how you can make the moment last forever. Just seep into the moment and enjoy it because it will eventually pass. Nothing is permanent. Fighting that reality will only cause you pain.
Believe now is enough. It’s true—tomorrow may not look the same as today, no matter how much you try to control it. A relationship might end. You might have to move. You’ll deal with those moments when they come. All you need right now is to appreciate and enjoy what you have. It’s enough.
Call yourself out. Learn what it looks like to grasp at people, things, or circumstances so you can redirect your thoughts when they veer toward attachment. When you dwell on keeping, controlling, manipulating, or losing something instead of simply experiencing it.
Define yourself in fluid terms. We are all constantly evolving and growing. Define yourself in terms that can withstand change. Defining yourself by possessions, roles, and relationships breeds attachment because loss entails losing not just what you have, but also who you are.
Enjoy now fully. No matter how much time you have in an experience or with someone you love, it will never feel like enough. So don’t think about it in terms of quantity—aim for quality, instead. Attach to the idea of living well moment-to-moment. That’s an attachment that can do you no harm.