June 12, 2024

How the Buddhist concept of Nonattachment can help us to become Happier.

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When it comes to happiness, we all have different ways and techniques to help us cope with life’s inevitable ups and down.

Throughout the years, I have incorporated many habits into my daily life that have helped me figure out what works for me.

Although I generally feel happy, sometimes I feel stuck.

Two years ago, baking used to make me so happy. I would even invite friends or family to try my latest baked creations. The other day I remembered how much happiness baking had brought me, so I did it again.

And again.

And again.

But…I wasn’t happy. I insisted on baking even though it was clear that baking no longer made me happy. From a Buddhist point of view, I was too attached to the feeling that baking had brought me. Although that feeling changed and it no longer felt pleasurable, I couldn’t let go of my idea of happiness.

This is not the first time this has happened. When something makes me happy, I tend to associate it with who I am and keep doing it even when I feel something is wrong.

Believe it or not, I even stayed in relationships and jobs just because they had once made me happy. I know you’ve been there too. When something or someone makes you miserable, you might resist changing your situation.

Yesterday I accepted the fact that I no longer loved baking. I chose to put my attention and energy where my heart would lead me. But for me to do that, I had to practice nonattachment.

In Buddhism, upādāna (attachment) means clinging to anything that could make us happy. Even though the pleasure might be short and temporary, we cling even harder in order to feel safe, secure, comfortable, and in charge.

When it comes to happiness, we usually have fixed ideas about what makes us happy. We have collected these ideas since childhood and have grown up thinking that this or that will bring us permanent pleasure.

When our source of happiness becomes our source of misery, we refuse to accept that something might have changed. That is exactly why we stay in abusive relationships and toxic jobs.

The truth is everything is subject to change—including our ideas and desires. But we refuse to understand that we might change and instead stay stuck in a cycle of craving and wanting the same thing that has once made us happy.

If we can break free from our fixed perceptions and practice nonattachment, we might actually become happier.

Although I don’t like baking anymore, I have discovered another hobby that’s bringing me the same amount of satisfaction. I understand now that the more I cling to what I think makes me happy, the more I suffer.

So stay receptive to what might suddenly bring you peace and fulfillment because having a rigid mindset will never allow you to connect with yourself and others on a deep level.

Nonattachment is crucial for finding real, long-lasting happiness. Let’s tap into it right now.

~

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