When things are going well, it’s very easy to lose sight of what brought you there.
It’s funny; if my life has taken a shitty turn, immediately I read spiritual texts like the Bhagavad Gita. Or, The Reason for God. Or The Upanishads, Letters from a Stoic, Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, or The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. And heed whatever advice they have.
And they set me right. They remind of an underlying joy in the universe, and the need for non-attachment to things outside of myself.
So it’s funny for me to look at how well I listen when things are going poorly, and then to completely disregard that same advice when things take an upswing in fortune.
Because when we do that? That’s when the cycle of joy and sorrow renews it’s power.
I keep using this quote from Kahlil Gibran because it explains what I want to say perfectly.
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
Joy, and sorrow are two branches off the same tree.
And when I read these spiritual texts, I’m reminded of the need for non-attachment. And I have no trouble adopting it whole-heartedly because usually we yearn for guidance only when we most need it.
But this disregard for spiritual guidance once things become good again? That keeps us in this emotional roller-coaster of good, and bad fortune. Put in flux by any trend of fate.
So what are we supposed to do?
Practice non-attachment. To good, and bad. Try, and have emotions flow through you without focus on any particular one. Breeze through trees, emotions through you.
That devotee who looks upon friend and foe with
equal regard, who is not buoyed up by praise nor
cast down by blame, alike in heat and cold, pleasure
and pain, free from selfish attachments, the same
in honor and dishonor, quiet, ever full, in harmony
everywhere, firm in faith – such a one is dear to me.
The Bhagavad Gita
And I’ll leave you with one last quote, a quote that’s gotten me through difficult times.
Stillness, insight, and wisdom arise only when we can settle into being complete in this moment, without having to seek or hold on to or reject anything. This is a testable proposition. Try it out just for fun. See for yourself whether letting go when a part of you really wants to hold on doesn’t bring a deeper satisfaction than clinging.