How to not hold on….

There are two quotes that caught my attention on Twitter yesterday. I am finding it hard to reconcile them in my mind though I fear that it is incredibly simple.

The first was in an article about re-minding that resonated strongly, at the beginning, but seemed to lack the resolution I was looking for. It was a short sentence that stood out a mile –

“The Buddha says that all suffering is due to attachment”.

The second was from Ted Hughes and says nothing new but everything I need to remember –

“The only thing people regret is that they didn’t live boldly enough, that they didn’t invest enough heart, didn’t love enough”.

Both evoked the same “but of course” response – and yet there is an obvious challenge in the demand to love and live passionately, and how difficult it is not to get attached when those emotions are awakened.

I have been thinking about love a lot lately.

Having fallen hard and wonderfully and totally unexpectedly in love this year, the theme has taken on a new significance and I wonder how it is that I haven’t questioned it before. How I have managed to love – which I know I have – without grasping, fully, just how phenomenally powerful and complex and difficult and magical and obvious the emotion is.

Critchley says that love is “the constant shaking of oneself” and, in many ways, that is exactly how it has felt.

The funny thing about being shaken is that, although the unsettlement is scary, it also makes you realise that you can’t go back –

And so I agree wholeheartedly with Hughes that the investment is imperative. That it is why we are here. That, often, the sense that we are not living in that way is what causes the tension, in whichever form it appears –

But I wonder how you live like that without becoming attached. Without hanging on to the thing that has awakened your passion, be it a person or a subject or even a thing –

I am all too aware that hold on too tightly to something and it will fly away or get crushed – but there seems to be an incredible skill in giving yourself passionately whilst knowing that you’re not holding on.


4 responses to “How to not hold on….

  1. The “attachment is suffering” ideal also holds true to attaching a lot of thought to worry and doubts. 😉 Tension definitely comes in overthinking…

    It is a paradox and a contradiction that attachment brings suffering but that lack of attachment to anything or anyone brings loneliness and alienation. The way I kinda try to deal with it is to ultimately say “hey, it’s all ultimately part of Universal oneness” and get myself out of the mindset that there is only one right answer or way. (Another Far Eastern spiritual idea – dichotomies are all illusion.)

    You have to invest heart but you also have to be able to let go. Maybe they are not different things but all a part of one flow. That’s my spiritualised understanding at least! 🙂

    • Yes – I looked up some Buddhist ideas after seeing that comment, and that seemed to be the general gist of the thinking. That considering yourself as separate is where the problem comes in – or that’s what I took from a very quick research session. I kind of like the theory – I just don’t know how you get there and am slightly resistant to the idea that you should just calmly observe things. Early thoughts though…

  2. I find myself wondering, in the context of love anyway, if it’s acceptable, even preferable, to hold on as hard as possible, squeezing and hugging with all our might, so long as we’re ready to let go completely on a moments notice?

    • I don’t know. I absolutely believe that hugging tightly and acknowledging the strength of the emotion is a must for me – but I’m not sure how to get to the point of being okay to let it go. Maybe it’s not okay – we just have to accept that those are the conditions or something?
      Lovely to hear from you!

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