Saturday, August 03, 2013

Attached to Outcome

“Most of our troubles are due to our passionate desire for and attachment to things that we misapprehend as enduring entities.” ~Dalai Lama

I have spent much of the last couple of years reading, writing, and thinking about how I live my life and how to be a better and more content person.  Throughout those years, one particular concept constantly comes up for me:  being attached to outcome.
It means that much of our suffering and pain comes from feeling that only one ending or only one thing will make us happy.
That concept can permeate our lives, but lately I have watched myself in a pattern on a very small scale that reminded me of what I do on a much larger scale.
I am a creature of habit.  I like to try new things, but there are areas of my life that make me feel secure and give me a sense of control (not that it’s really true, but it feels that way).
Every morning, I have a cup of coffee in a very particular cup.  I love it.  It is shaped and painted in a way that is “perfect”.   A few months ago, I dropped it.  I looked everywhere for a cup just like it.  It was a hunt.  The replacement cup had to be shaped the same and look the same.
I felt lost without my old cup and the tradition of drinking from it every morning. I finally found something that looked fairly similar, but it wasn’t exactly the same.  I noticed when I was searching for the replacement that I looked only for that identical type of cup.  I couldn’t see anything else.  No variation of the cup would enter my view regardless of what store I was in.  I literally blocked out anything that could have been a new style or pattern.
Then, one day, I saw this amazing, clear, glass cup that had double walls (I know you have seen them) and it was beautiful and clean and it kept the coffee hot while the outer shell stayed cool.
I loved it!  I loved the shape, the feel, the felt awesome and new!   I enjoyed it for months and then, I can’t believe this, but I broke it.  So, again, I looked. But, this time, I found a cup that was similar, but the shape was slightly different.  It was wonderful, but in the back of my mind, I missed the one I had broken and I looked everywhere for it.
Finally, a few days ago, I found the exact one I had broken.  I was so excited!  But, when I used it, I didn’t love it nearly as much as the newest cup I had been using.
OK, very long story, for a very simple point.  I was so stuck, so attached to my outcome of that original cup that I didn’t see anything around me.  It wasn’t until a new cup “spoke” to me that I opened up and let it in.  
I have seen this in my life over and over again.  Attaching to only one outcome is the end of creativity and peace and it does cause suffering, at least for me.
When I open my eyes and allow good things to come that don’t fit with my expectations or very specific goals, life changes. It isn’t exactly the same as I thought it would be, but it is beautiful and special in its own way.
I am so glad my first cup broke because if it hadn’t, I would never know how much joy is possible.  Obviously, this is not just about coffee cups.  It’s about life and what we make of it.
I feel grateful that we are never too old to change, never too old to grow, and that there are a myriad of “cups” that will make us happy.