Ancient spiritual wisdom suggests that there are two primary habits of the mind which deprive us of inner peace. One is attachment and the other is aversion. Attachment involves clinging to our desire to get what we don’t have or to hold on to what we do have. We chase after things or hold on tight to them thinking that if we can capture and keep them, we will be happy. The irony is that clinging to these things which we believe will bring us happiness and peace can cause great anxiety and unrest.
Secondly, we resist those things and experiences which we identify as unpleasant or unwanted. We resist them thinking that if we can will these things out of our lives, we will be so much happier. Again, the irony is that our dread of what might be or inner resistance and denial of what actually cause us more pain instead of bringing the peace and comfort we seek.
A patient that I visited years ago who had been drug addicted and homeless for several years of his life knew the truth of this wisdom. He expressed it in his own vernacular, saying “Nothing very, very, good or very, very, bad lasts very, very, long.”
When we are able to hold those things to which we are attached in an open hand and lean into the painful and unpleasant moments in our lives, recognizing and accepting that both of these are transient; we enjoy a peace and equanimity that the inevitable ups and downs of life cannot disturb!
May it be so for us all this week!