I’m not sure if you were looking for a philosophical musing as a response, but because I’m feeling it, I’ll do it anyway. Read and be warned.

I discovered Buddhism 16 years ago, and have had an on-again-off-again relationship with it during that time. Hell, I didn’t even start meditating seriously until this year.

I struggled with the idea that I might need to stop holding on to things, but then I came to certain understanding of the Buddha’s message. Maybe it has no basis in the canon, but it helps me make sense of the 4 truths. The understanding has 2 parts:

  1. “Holding on” happens — like any emotional activity — on a spectrum. It’s not that we’re either holding onto something, or have let it go (which is why using the analogy of “holding on” might handicap our effective understanding of dukkha, sukkha, and other relevant concepts).
  2. It’s okay to hold onto things, but it’s not okay to hold onto them without understanding that the tighter you are holding on, the more it will hurt when they are pulled way. And that is relevant because they will be pulled away.

That second part helped me to make peace with the seeming disparity between the hardline message in Buddhism about letting go of attachments, and my view that a rich human life consists of relationships, caring, and to some extent, holding onto things.

If you read this, thanks. I just felt like getting it off my chest.

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Author of “The Wabi-Sabi Way” and “Be, Think, Do”. Subscribe to my newsletter “Woolgathering”: https://goo.gl/UhzUYL.

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