Do you have an obsession? Maybe more than one? Obsessions, like many things in life can be good or bad – it’s our thinking that makes it so. I had to give some thought to what I obsess over. I thought about, and thought about it and … you guessed it – I’m obsessed with thinking! Obsessed with the mind!
The great Zen masters speak of the “no mind” – our true essence, our true self. I tell myself I need to “lose my mind” and stop obsessing, stop over -thinking. But how?
As humans, we all obsess at times over someone or something. We tend to grasp and cling to people and things. When we lose our grip, and those people or things fade away, as they always do, we suffer. A friend once shared a quote from Anthony De Mello, a Jesuit Priest, psychotherapist and spiritual teacher.
”I have no fear of losing you, for you aren’t an object of my property, or anyone else’s. I love you as you are, without attachment, without fears, without conditions, without egoism, trying not to absorb you. I love you freely because I love your freedom, as well as mine.”
~ Anthony De Mello
Ah, but if we could only love and live as De Mello describes, without attachment, without fear. It is our fear of loss that causes us to obsess. We obsess over money, our appearance, material possessions, our partner, our children, sometimes smothering those we love.
Every major religion and wisdom tradition provides guidance on how to end or deal with suffering. In the Buddhist tradition, the way out of suffering is through the eight-fold path; the middle way. In Taoism it is through acceptance and wu-wei (non-doing). Christianity provides guidance within the scriptures, through prayer and faith.
What I’ve come to realize, is most of what I obsess over is of my own making – dramas created and played out in my own mind. I’m working on finding the middle way, practicing acceptance, and praying for guidance and healing. But mostly, I’m trying to remember to calm down, relax, breathe, and stay present and practice gratitude.
Let me end with this quote from one of my favorite little books, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, by Richard Carlson.