There is a time . . . to die. Solomon – Ecclesiastes ch.3
I am told that the Taoists having a saying to the effect that we should die 10,000 times a day: that is, with each breath we let go of what has gone before and welcome the new moment.
This only applies to some aspects of life. It doesn’t mean forgetting the language we learned many years ago and that enables us to read this advice for instance.
What does it apply to? It applies to what I loosely call ‘attachments’. What is an attachment? An attachment is an intellectual and emotional position that we live by and which we are unwilling to update.
An attachment is not an intellectual or emotional way of relating, it is not a belief or judgement. We all have these things and they often serve us well. The problem comes when we are confronted with a decidedly new situation or a situation that we are familiar with changes.
A situation that often reveals our attachments starkly is a divorce or relationship break up. We find that our understanding of the other person was quite wrong – and looking back we can see the signs that we missed. We may realise that they had been asking us to be more intellectually rigorous or emotionally forthcoming for years. We missed them because we were attached to our understanding of the person. We might find that we are experiencing new emotions for ourselves. We might be surprised by the words we say and the things we feel like doing (burning down houses perhaps). We are surprised because we are attached to our ideas about ourselves. We may have thought of ourselves as calm and reasonable and now find that we feel rage. We may have thought that we were warm and giving and discover we feel cold hatred.
Similarly, a change in a relationship can reveal our attachments. Going into a business with a friend, having a child with a romantic partner – things like this bring a change to the relationship. We may find that we need new ways to communicate or to divide tasks differently. The surprise or difficulty we have doing this is the measure of the depth of our attachment.
Giving up an attachment can be hugely difficult. We can feel like we are being torn apart – if you have been something like this you will know that I am not exaggerating. It really can feel like we are dying.
Take up your cross and follow me. Jesus – the gospels. Those carrying their crosses were headed for death.
This Easter you may like to take time to reflect on what situations are new or changed in your life. And what this new or changed situation is asking of you? What is the change that may be required of you? And what is making the change hard?
Would you like to feel less stressed?
Could you do with more joy in your life?
The answer is living authentically. Buy the book or sign up for the course now from my Living Authentically website.
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