Practicing Non-Attachment


I love zen humor!

A Zen Buddhist believes attachments are the cause of all earthly suffering. It’s the clinging that hurts. But revulsion causes suffering as well.

It’s the attachment to meaning: “I want… I abhor…” One path to non-attachment is practicing mindfulness – being an observer of the present moment without judgement.

Who Knows What’s Good or Bad?    A Taoist Tale


There once was a simple farmer who lived and struggled alongside his village neighbors and friends.

One day a neighbor dropped by for a visit.

”How are things?” he asked.

“The fence broke and my horse ran away.”

“Oh, that’s too bad. How are you going to work the fields now?”

The farmer replied: “Who knows what is good or bad?”

 A week later the horse returned, but he was not alone! He brought with him a herd of wild horses. This time the neighbor congratulated the farmer on his good luck, but the farmer just replied: “Who knows what is good or bad?”

 Then, when the farmer’s son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone thought this very bad luck. “That’s too bad! Now he can’t help you around the farm!” The farmer’s response was simply: “Who knows what is good or bad?”

 News of impending war came and every able-bodied man was required to join forces in battle. The farmer’s son, because he had a broken leg, was the only boy in the village to remain. His neighbors were envious, but said: “Oh, that’s good! How lucky! You get to keep your only son.”

The farmer replied: “Who knows what is good or bad?”


Are you looking for the good or bad in every situation? What could you do differently to be more peaceful and balanced in your life?

 From this story we can see that the farmer and his neighbor have different ways of viewing events in the world. And they create different results.

It turns out that it is our judgments that cause our suffering, not the actual events. These judgments create body sensations (emotions) and they can lead to an endless cycle where the emotion controls you instead of you controlling your emotions.

How can we learn to observe without judgment?

 Learning to observe the emotions arising and allowing them to pass will significantly reduce the stress you experience in your day-to-day life.

The point is to experience them, observe that you are having them, but not attach to them, thus allowing them to disappear just as they arose in the first place.

Developing a daily meditation practice is a great way to learn to observe feelings and develop the ability to not get caught up in my emotions when situations do arise.

If you’re new to meditation or want a guided meditation to try, check out my playlist on YouTube:  Jane’s “Mindfulness” playlist

I have also found activities that allow me to get into my body (such as Yoga, cycling, dancing), and connecting with nature (walking to the local park) to be very useful practices as well.





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