There is a Story of Zen master who had a beautiful, prized Cup. The master would repeat to himself, “The glass is already broken.” He enjoyed the Cup. He used it. He showed it off to visitors. But in his mind, it was already broken. And so, one day, when it actually did break, he simply said, “of course.”
There is supposedly another true story about Epictetus and a lamp. He never locked his house, and so his expensive lamp was stolen. When Epictetus replaced it, he replaced it with a cheaper one, so he could be less attached to it if stolen again.
(Source: The Daily Stoic)
How simply these two stories tell us what we already know. Nothing is permanent. Yet, that should not stop us from enjoying the small things in life. The most vital thing to remember is not to get attached to anything. It is essential to practice detachment in our day-to-day lives if we want to enjoy a complete and fulfilled life.
How can we identify if we are attached to something or someone?
We could experience any of the following:
Anything which makes us anxious, jealous, fearful, or vain can be due to our attachment.
How difficult is it for an ordinary human being to practice detachment when surrounded by fascinating things, people, and relationships? It is like standing out in the rain without getting wet. However, it is not impossible. As an umbrella can protect us from the rain, the awareness that nothing is permanent can give us the strength to shield us from getting attached to worldly pleasures.
Hence, let us enjoy what we can with the knowledge that it might not be there tomorrow. Once we start doing that, probably we would be able to enjoy everything much more and stop taking people and things for granted.
“Fortune falls heavily on those for whom she’s unexpected. The one always on the lookout easily endures.” Seneca
Vibha S Kapil