Relieving Stress Through Non-Attachment


“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences.” ~ Hsin Hsin Ming

Think of how often we experience stress or anxiety about something that “might” happen. We worry that we will not get the promotion or the new job. We worry that the weather may turn bad for our weekend at the lake. We stress over whether the new relationship will work out, or if we will get everything done on our “to do” list.

The mind runs these “either/or”, or “what if?” scenarios over and over, for many, throughout their entire lives. Like watching a movie of our own creation, it is often catastrophic images that we see. Some “see” their children getting caught up in drug abuse, becoming pregnant, or being negatively influenced by others. These can be genuine worries, but over the years I have seen many parents live these fears when their children would never venture down those pathways.

Some envision their plane crashing, an operation going terribly wrong, or, despite adequate savings, seeing themselves ending up on the street. These kinds of images cause the body to react as though we were really living those terrors. Stress and anxiety overflow the system, causing the release of stress chemicals, and suppression of our immune systems.

This kind of “what if?” thinking creates an unsettled feeling that never allows for moving into a place of gentle peace and serenity. It prevents the true enjoyment of life.

It is actually the ego aspect of mind that gets attached to things happening the way it wants them to. This does make life difficult because there is so much over which we have no control. It may be attachment to our child being straight rather than gay, our adult children making more time for us despite their obviously busy lives, or wishing they had different careers, or partners

There is a better way. We can accept that many outcomes will be similar to a coin toss. It could go either way. What we need to do is to be prepared for, and okay with whatever outcome manifests. Yes, ego may be pulling for its preferred outcome, but at the level of our higher self, we can be like a parent watching a child hoping for things to turn out a certain way. The parent knows the child may be upset, but is prepared to coach him past the disappointment and switch the focus to something positive.

We cannot change the past, or sometimes even the present, and definitely cannot control the future. However, we can control how we think. Focusing on what is good in our lives, and changing our thinking are positive things over which we do have control.

Releasing the need to have everything turn out “okay,” but rather, to be determined that whatever the outcomes might be, that we will find a way to be okay.

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