As a coach I read pretty widely to inform my practice. I’m happy to draw ideas and philosophies from any source in order to help my clients. Having said that, even I was a little surprised to be reading Elemental Shamanism (I’m blaming Natasha). It’s an eclectic narrative and whilst I found the Native American part very interesting (I’ll save that for another post) I was particularly drawn by a piece about Buddhism.
The book states that there are “4 Noble Truths”
- Life is about suffering
- Suffering comes from attachment
- Suffering can be ended
- Transcendence comes from following a path of moderation
Now I don’t propose to go in to a spiritual debate about these truths but the second one really struck a chord with me. The book talked about how we can become attached to status, material goods or delude ourselves about control.
I thought about the work I do with clients and it’s true to say that many people have an vision of what they want their lives to be. Some of them are robust and realistic about it whilst others seem to make their happiness conditional on achieving it all. They say they won’t be happy until they get that promotion, that new house or partner. Not a healthy way to live.
I think the same rings true with past events. We tend to attach significance to an event & then generalise from that specific experience. This is why a harsh word from a teacher can inform someone’s esteem for years. Why a failed relationship can set the tone for how we approach our lives. We have ascribed a meaning to something & filed it away. It’s rare we re-examine our past & draw a different conclusion, perhaps one drawn from greater experience in the world and certainly not one which reflects more favourably or makes us feel better about the past.
Reading this book encouraged me to take a look at what I had been holding on to and where I needed to let go of some of the associations and also where I had tension around situations.
I want to encourage you to do the same so rather than my usual question my challenge this week comes in several stages.
- Take a look at what you are attached to.
- Are you suffering from that attachment?
- What is important in that attachment?
- What can you let go?
So that’s it for another week. Do please comment and let me know how you get on. I’m always keen to hear how these challenges work out.