We want to share an excellent story about the pain and suffering caused from our attachments.
One day Nasrudin was out walking and found a man sitting on the side of the road crying.
“What is the matter, my friend?” asked Nasrudin. “Why are you crying?”
“I am crying because I am so poor,” wailed the man. “I have no money and everything I own is in this little bag.”
“Ah-ha!” said Nasrudin, who immediately grabbed the bag and ran as fast as he could until he was out of sight.
“Now I have nothing at all,” cried the poor man, weeping still harder as he trudged along the road in the direction Nasrudin had gone. A mile away he found his bag sitting in the middle of the road, and he immediately became ecstatic. “Thank God,” he cried out. “I have all my possessions back. Thank you, thank you.”
“How curious!” exclaimed Nasrudin, appearing out of the bushes by the side of the road. “How curious, that the same bag that made you weep now makes you ecstatic.”
This insightful story illustrates the drama caused when we believe something outside of us will bring the joy, happiness or love that we crave. The more we look to outside situations, things or other people to “fill us up” the more we want—and the attachment cycle repeats itself. Our attachments swell as we have an ever-growing need for more.
There is nothing wrong with wanting a good job, being a respected community leader or having a warm, safe and nice home. It is when these “things” become cravings and the center of our life that the hopeless quest for more turns into the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) ™.
We may feel victimized by not having the perfect job, or believe the perfect job will rescue us from feeling insecure. Or, maybe we feel persecuted by the need to climb the career ladder to attain the perfect job. Each of us creates our own unique drama roles depending on how we relate to our attachments.
David often speaks to the difference between attachment, detached and nonattached, a distinction he learned from a friend who has been a longtime practicing Buddhist.
When we feel attached we must have it “my way” – it is a “win-lose” mindset. The man in the story was attached to what he didn’t have. Detachment has the quality of “I don’t care” or the cliché “whatever.”
Nonattachment, on the other hand, allows us to both care about what we have (without being attached) and allow what arises to emerge. We experience what we experience and show gratitude for whatever the current level of “having” is. This delicate balance is a life-long journey. We remind ourselves each day that learning nonattachment can put us on the path of personal freedom.