Perhaps you have heard of the Zen Buddhist principle of non-attachment. The Buddha famously said, “attachment is the root of all suffering.” We can look to our daily lives to see how that suffering plays out on a daily basis. As humans, we naturally become attached to earthly matters and things, including people, feelings, objects, and substances. Because attachment creates feelings of grasping or addictiveness (i.e. the idea that you need that thing, be it a substance, person, or feeling, in order to survive or be well) we suffer. These same principles teach us that there is, in fact, a way out of suffering and part of the way out is non-attachment. The name itself can be deceiving. “Non-attachment” doesn’t necessarily mean cold detachment or emptiness. It’s the path towards a higher state of mind and ultimately, your best, most authentic self. What can the Mother Nature teach us about non-attachment?
Mother Nature Doesn’t Get Attached
It’s important to first note that it’s impossible to be utterly non-attached to any earthly matters. However, it can be extremely healing to practice this attitude. Non-attachment is simply a practice, something to keep your mind’s eye on. So, don’t get attached to non-attachment. One way to practice is to let go of what doesn’t serve you anymore. This is a way to live in the present and not get emotionally entangled with the past or caught up in old thought patterns. Look what nature does every autumn. She sheds her leaves and gives way to a new season. This isn’t an emotionally charged issue for her. She simply lets the leaves go and moves on to winter. Mother Earth is filled with natural cycles. In fact, she’s in a constant state of change. Plants grow and then they die, a natural disaster happens and then the earth around it begins to heal. Snow covers fresh green grasses and then disappears. Constant change is the flow state of living beings and when we allow ourselves to bare witness to nature’s changes and her lack of attachment, we too can start to let go of grasping at the material world and decrease our own suffering.
RedCliff Ascent is a therapeutic wilderness program, nestled between two mountain ranges in the high desert of Enterprise, UT. We focus on adolescents ages 13-17 who are struggling with various challenges from anxiety and depression, to school abandonment and the need to reconnect with their family. With over 25 years of experience, RedCliff uses a relational model and narrative therapy to drive an outcome and an evidence-based approach. RedCliff Recovery offers an experience like no other through a proven, 12-step, adventure-based wilderness program. For more information, call us today: 801-921-8488.