I’ve been thinking a lot about attachment, and how my brain connects to certain things.
Partly, because I’m reading this book of meditations and it’s wrecking me. It’s rich. Hard to swallow at times. I can only take it in small pieces, but those pieces are just substantial.
A lot of it revolves around our happiness.
What is real happiness?
What does attachment have to do with happiness?
Well, it seems…everything.
I’ve been struggling with a lot of things. I have an idea of what it may be, but I’m not putting any pressure on myself to figure it out. I’m swerving in and out of it constantly, like traffic cones to a sixteen year old trying to get their license.
I believe that happiness is indescribable. It is relative from one person to another. But I don’t think we’ll ever be able to agree, only to affirm and live in those moments when we get them. Like little gifts, ya know?
Going back to the book, the part I struggle with so deeply is the attachment to people. Things, I can understand. We will never ever be truly happy with all of our pretty things. We know this to be true.
But what about people? Your partner or parents or siblings? Yes, we love them deeply. In moments, they can make us happy and feel loved.
And then what about yourself? What if they were to leave you?
There is a lot in that. Anger. Sadness. Regret. Abandonment.
Lord knows I’ve felt more of that this past year than I ever have.
We make it, though. Time chips away at the stone we build around our hearts. I’m sure it could go the other way, but I’ve found it quite the opposite. I think that says a lot.
Time has made me softer. Time has allowed me to fit into my bones. It’s allowed me to listen to people and most importantly, to connect. I think growing up as a kid is super duper hard. We’re rarely taught how to hold loosely nor do I think we even had the tools to understand any of this.
I think affirming other people is hard work. Putting them at peace to explore one another’s depths. That can be hard. We can really turn things onto ourselves easily. It’s easy to make life about me. Hell, I do it all the time. Blogging is about me. It’s also about me in the bigger scope of things, too.
So how do I not make people my reason to be happy?
The writer talks about deprogramming the things we learned as kids. That maybe, if we deprogram our brains to not think of people as things to make us happy.
I know. That’s kind of icky.
I’m probably a little more gung-ho about this because a person I relied on for my happiness and contentment decided on a different path. There are also some sad feelings of being a kid of a divorce, too. You always have a right to feel sad about sad things. Don’t let anyone tell you any different.
But also, I think of myself as a human being all of my own doing. I recognize my heart and that it is good. I strive to do good things. I don’t always do good things, but my mind works for it. Sometimes it is able to reach my heart and I have an abundance of clarity for a short time.
I think attachment to people and things is a difficult thing to process. I’m not saying I have it figured out. But I can say, that I’ve made it through this process by loving myself and believing that I am worthy of love. I’ve made it through because time has shown me that people will enter in and out of your life and they will make you happy sometimes. Also, what would it be like to take away their power that makes you rely on them for your own happiness? Is it even about that?
I suppose I want to separate this from the idea that we are a beloved community. I believe we need people to get through life. I want that to be clear. Sometimes we need to have babies and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we are nomads and in certain seasons, settle for a time.
In all of this, though, I want to contemplate on how I feel most alive, and I realize it always stems from my belly. The place where I process my world. I can only be responsible for myself. For my own happiness. Lucky for us, we have people that help us get there. They gives us tools, and sometimes obstacles to use those tools.
What I want to say, and what my belly believes to be true, is that my connection to being content with the present, and who I am, stems directly from my understanding that other people and things are not responsible for my happiness. Only I am. I think that the work I’ve been doing over these recent years has allowed me to see that when you can best love and take care of yourself, you are able to give up the idea of needing to be understood all the time. I think feeling safe in that takes a while, but it’s where I feel most like me.
‘What then is happiness? Very few people know and no one can tell you, because happiness cannot be described. Can you describe light to people who have been sitting in darkness all their lives? Can you describe reality to someone in a dream? Understand your darkness and it will vanish; then you will know what light is. Understand your nightmare for what it is and it will stop; then you will wake up to reality. Understand your false beliefs and they will drop; then you will know the taste of happiness. ‘ -Anthony de Mello