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Clinging Causes the Pain

--by Tenzin Palmo (Oct 12, 2009)


Genuine love and kindness is desperately needed in this world. It comes from appreciating the object, and rejoicing in the object, wanting the object to be happy and well, but holding it lightly, not tightly. And this goes for possessions too. You are in an extremely materialistic society in which the possession of more and bigger and better is held up as the total criteria for being happy. […]

What we own is not the problem, it's our attitude towards our possessions. If we have something and we enjoy it, that's fine. If we lose it, then that's OK. But if we lose it and we are very attached to it in our heart, then that's not fine. It doesn't matter what the object is, because it's not the object which is the problem. The problem is our own inner grasping mind that keeps us bound to the wheel, and keeps us suffering. If our mind was open and could just let things flow naturally, there would be no pain. Do you understand? We need our everyday life to work on this, to really begin to see the greed of attachment in the mind and gradually begin to lessen and lessen it

There's a famous story of a coconut, which is said to be used in India to catch monkeys. People take a coconut and make a little hole just big enough for a monkey to put its paw through. And inside the coconut, which is nailed to a tree, they have put something sweet. So the monkey comes along, sees the coconut, smells something nice inside, and he puts his hand in. He catches hold of the sweet inside, so now he has a fist. But the hole is too small for the fist to get out. When the hunters come back, the monkey's caught. But of course, all the monkey has to do is let go. Nobody's holding the monkey except the monkey's grasping greedy mind. Nobody is holding us on the wheel, we are clinging to it ourselves. There are no chains on this wheel. We can jump off any time. But we cling. And clinging causes the pain.

--Tenzin Palmo


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13 Previous Reflections:

 
On Nov 17, 2009 taga wrote:

letting go is such a hard thing to do......but when you know that this will liberate you from the pain, then it will be much easier..........and when you learn to let go, then, there is resilience........indeed, clinging causes the pain...... so let go, stop the pain and choose to be happy...... :)



On Oct 18, 2009 srikiran wrote:

really good message to mankind



On Oct 18, 2009 CHANDUBHAI BHANUSHALI wrote:

Yes, I do agree with Mr.Tenzin.

We travel in a train with a reserved bearth.So long as we have occupied it we do like it and it's comforts.As we reach our destination we leave the train without pain in our mind.Keeping in mind that this worldly things are with me for only some times and these do belong to me.The time will come I will have to leave everything here only.This will help us in detachment without pain.



On Oct 18, 2009 Somik Raha wrote:

I really liked the metaphor of holding something lightly versus tightly, and wondered whether this was about internal attitudes or external manifestations. Handshakes are what we often engage in, and whenever I've had a light handshake with someone, it is because I'm not in the moment, thinking about the next thing I'd like to do. But when I am totally in the moment, my handshakes are tight and firm, as is my resolve to connect. Therefore, I don't think this metaphor is about external manifestations. Rather, it is about being light internally, so I have everything at my disposal to pour into the moment. In order to be able to keep pouring myself into each moment, I will also need to get over the fear of not having enough to pour in later. That fear would make me hold back. I also loved the monkey story and felt there was another dimension to it. Tenzin talks about the troubles of craving, but I feel the same holds when there is aversion. So, if I have put in my hand in the coconut, an  See full.

I really liked the metaphor of holding something lightly versus tightly, and wondered whether this was about internal attitudes or external manifestations. Handshakes are what we often engage in, and whenever I've had a light handshake with someone, it is because I'm not in the moment, thinking about the next thing I'd like to do. But when I am totally in the moment, my handshakes are tight and firm, as is my resolve to connect. Therefore, I don't think this metaphor is about external manifestations. Rather, it is about being light internally, so I have everything at my disposal to pour into the moment. In order to be able to keep pouring myself into each moment, I will also need to get over the fear of not having enough to pour in later. That fear would make me hold back.

I also loved the monkey story and felt there was another dimension to it. Tenzin talks about the troubles of craving, but I feel the same holds when there is aversion. So, if I have put in my hand in the coconut, and I sense fear of the hunters approaching, instead of collapsing my hand, I'd spread it and try desperately to pull it out. That would only harm me and be unsuccessful.

Finally, a story where my hand got stuck in the coconut. Last week, I was involved in helping organize a talk on campus. As we were looking at the space, there were several decisions to be made. In particular, we had one room where I thought we could have a 45 minute meditation, and an adjoining room where we could do the talk. My friend Michael who has a great intuition about spaces was with me, and he suggested instead that we look at both adjoining spaces as one, and not as two. Then, the meditation and the talk could be in the same room, while the adjoining room had wide enough doors to become an overflow or extension space. The idea was brilliant! We could accommodate 100 people with this arrangement. As we started thinking what to do next, I suggested that overflow column in the adjoining room (which was as wide as the doors) be demarcated by folded tables. Michael pointed out that people wouldn't be on the other side of the column because all would be interested in seeing the speaker. I agreed. Then I suggested another blockade elsewhere and Michael helped me see better. Finally, I realized my hand was stuck in the coconut. I was holding on tightly to an aversion of chaos. I needed to relax. So, I found myself telling Michael, "You are the boss and I will follow."

We then entered a deeper co-created space, where a lot of brainstorming happened on what to do with two smaller rooms in the same space which were at our disposal. A great outcome of that brainstorming was that we ended up with an art room (for community art) and a gift room (where people could take and leave gifts behind).

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On Oct 15, 2009 Alhashemi wrote:

Salaam (meaning “peace” in Arabic, is the Islamic form of greeting), Thanks for sharing this piece of BELIEF with us; a very good reminder of ourselves and reality of this life. I don’t put my keys in others’ hands”; this is the phrase I keep repeating in my life coaching courses. As a medical doctor and psychotherapist who is dealing with the psyche (the Self), and as part of the nature of my profession, I repeatedly get asked almost identical questions over and over again from random people, clients, and patients. I really like these frequent and repeated questions. Do you know why? Because they tell me one very important fact: People are ignorant about their selves, because they simply allow so many things to get between them and themselves. This is what I call the DASH between Me and My---Self! I believe clinging occurs when:  I fail to believe in the right ‘supreme being’. Every individual has some sort of ‘supr  See full.

Salaam (meaning “peace” in Arabic, is the Islamic form of greeting),

Thanks for sharing this piece of BELIEF with us; a very good reminder of ourselves and reality of this life.

I don’t put my keys in others’ hands”; this is the phrase I keep repeating in my life coaching courses.

As a medical doctor and psychotherapist who is dealing with the psyche (the Self), and as part of the nature of my profession, I repeatedly get asked almost identical questions over and over again from random people, clients, and patients. I really like these frequent and repeated questions. Do you know why? Because they tell me one very important fact: People are ignorant about their selves, because they simply allow so many things to get between them and themselves.

This is what I call the DASH between Me and My---Self!

I believe clinging occurs when: 

  • I fail to believe in the right ‘supreme being’. Every individual has some sort of ‘supreme being’ from whom – or from which – one takes his/her Goals, Values and Morals, Function, and eventually Identity. This ‘supreme being’ becomes the one who – or that – controls our being, from thought to acting. This ‘supreme being’ has different meanings to people; it could be God, Values, Career, Person, Money, Mother Nature, Science, etc. This ‘supreme being’ is what motivates one to live, work, and improve. I do believe that nothing deserves to be in such a position but the ONE GOD who created everything in this life and who is taking care of this universe.
  • I don’t know myself enough. That is why I always look for ‘others’ to be around.
  • I don’t appreciate myself enough. That is why I feel scared to set to myself as I am afraid that myself will start whipping me.
  • I fail to give myself its rights while I am busy trying to please others. This occurs because I fear to fall in ‘depression’ if they decide to leave me ‘alone’.
  • I allow other to be just like the seat and the four legs to a chair, while they should be no more than a back or arm rests. If I lost the seat and/or the four legs I’ll end up falling down, while if there is no back or arm rests I will still be able to ‘set’. Yes, things may be easier while others are around to help, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that I have to rely on them.
  • I leave myself to be a victim for such a media that is pushing people to be attached to almost everything. Marketing, advertisement, and new schools in business are teaching people to market anything, no matter how unnecessary things are, but the smarter you are – as a marketer or a salesman – the more clients you should convince with such an ‘item or product’.

Thank you again for such an inspiring word in such a materialistic world.

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On Oct 14, 2009 Sanjeev Verma wrote:

 We always want to own material goods and make them our slaves--however, we end up becoming slaves to material goods. 

Sanjeev



On Oct 13, 2009 Admin wrote:

Just read David Brooks column that essentially speaks about how scientists are discovering what happens to us biologically (and nuerologically) when we cling, and how that shapes social behavior.  Interesting ...  In 2001, an Internet search of the phrase “social cognitive neuroscience” yielded 53 hits. Now you get more than a million on Google. Young scholars have been drawn to this field from psychology, economics, political science and beyond in the hopes that by looking into the brain they can help settle some oldarguments about how people interact. These people study the way biology, in the form of genes, influences behavior. But they’re also trying to understand the complementary process of how social behavior changes biology. Matthew Lieberman of U.C.L.A. is doing research into what happens in the brain when people are persuaded by an argument. [...] The work demonstrates that we are awash in social signals, and any social science that treats  See full.

Just read David Brooks column that essentially speaks about how scientists are discovering what happens to us biologically (and nuerologically) when we cling, and how that shapes social behavior.  Interesting ...

 In 2001, an Internet search of the phrase “social cognitive neuroscience” yielded 53 hits. Now you get more than a million on Google. Young scholars have been drawn to this field from psychology, economics, political science and beyond in the hopes that by looking into the brain they can help settle some oldarguments about how people interact.

These people study the way biology, in the form of genes, influences behavior. But they’re also trying to understand the complementary process of how social behavior changes biology. Matthew Lieberman of U.C.L.A. is doing research into what happens in the brain when people are persuaded by an argument. [...]

The work demonstrates that we are awash in social signals, and any social science that treats individuals as discrete decision-making creatures is nonsense. But it also suggests that even though most of our reactions are fast and automatic, we still have free will and control.  Many of the studies presented here concerned the way we divide people by in-group and out-group categories in as little as 170 milliseconds. [...]

Consciousness is too slow to see what happens inside, but it is possible to change the lenses through which we unconsciously construe the world.

Since I’m not an academic, I’m free to speculate that this work will someday give us new categories, which will replace misleading categories like ‘emotion’ and ‘reason.’ I suspect that the work will take us beyond the obsession with I.Q. and other conscious capacities and give us a firmer understanding of motivation, equilibrium, sensitivity and other unconscious capacities.

The hard sciences are interpenetrating the social sciences. This isn’t dehumanizing. It shines attention on the things poets have traditionally cared about: the power of human attachments. It may even help policy wonks someday see people as they really are.

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On Oct 13, 2009 marsha wrote:

I agree with Tenzin Palmo's words...I have seen them to be true in life.  At the same time, welcoming in pain and being compassionate towards ourselves and others when we or they experience it can lead us to having an alturistic mind filled with love..at least that has been my experiene.  When love without attachment appears, the clinging ceases.  Aversion to clinging can also be a mind set...



On Oct 13, 2009 Patsy wrote:

I had just walked in from meditating on this very thing when I read this. How wonderful!

We can chain ourselves to the past that was or never was. We can chain ourselves to our ideas about the future that will be or never will be. But, we cannot chain ourselves to the very moment as each happens. This is why I work on meditation: to release expectations, desires, obsessions, repetitive thoughts - ugh!

I work to accept this very instant as it really is. I work to release the world I've constructed in my mind with my emotions and to see this world. As Jesus said, to use these eyes to see and use these ears to hear. How difficult to quiet that chattering mind! But, it becomes easier with practice, just like anything.

So, every day I must remind myself what it is I want to practice, what I want to be good at, and what I want to let go of with my monkey fist. I guess I just want to be good at letting go.



On Oct 13, 2009 Daniel J Benor, MD wrote:

Excellent reflection on the need to let go rather than clinging to problems.

Sometimes it is difficult to let go, though we may sincerely wish to and may make efforts to do so.

Blessings on your good work.

Dan



On Oct 13, 2009 Max wrote:

Attempting to possess something that does not belong to us creates pain.  The solution:  Asking God to remove the obsession and if it returns, we consciously put it out of our minds and give it back to God until we are no longer tormented by the thought.



On Oct 13, 2009 naren.vempati wrote:

I'm inspired with the above passage.  Thank you.



On Oct 12, 2009 Gareima wrote:

Yes, it is the mind that makes us attached and makes us cling.  In the Geeta, the world of "maya" (illusion) is released by  "unswerving devotion to me (God) by concentration on me and me alone with a love for solitute and indifference to social life." This can be of great help to some very emotional people like me ..... the world is full of different kinds of people everyone of us has a unique nature, and have different philosophies ..... we all have different ways of reacting and acting to our immediate enviornment. What governs our outcome and future is rooted in our acts. All of us are constantly in search of something and some of us are in search of  something to cling onto .... and when we find that Cling, we get greedy like the monkey and set our mindset that way ... like the monkeys.                                   &n  See full.

Yes, it is the mind that makes us attached and makes us cling.  In the Geeta, the world of "maya" (illusion) is released by  "unswerving devotion to me (God) by concentration on me and me alone with a love for solitute and indifference to social life."

This can be of great help to some very emotional people like me ..... the world is full of different kinds of people everyone of us has a unique nature, and have different philosophies ..... we all have different ways of reacting and acting to our immediate enviornment. What governs our outcome and future is rooted in our acts.

All of us are constantly in search of something and some of us are in search of  something to cling onto .... and when we find that Cling, we get greedy like the monkey and set our mindset that way ... like the monkeys.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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