Our minds grab pleasant and flee from whatever we find objectionable. Cravings are our intense desires that become fixated on something particular. We will never, nor should we be, free of desire, but when craving ensues, it takes over and enslaves us. Trying to satisfy a craving leads to transitory pleasure with even more craving. It is a vicious never-ending cycle.
Watch yourself and see how you cling to lots of things: objects, viewpoints, routines, pleasures/pain, and status to name a few. Clinging always has a sense of strain and is never relaxed. It sucks us into chasing problematic goals and fundamentally puts us at odds with the changing nature of existence.
Try a little experiment. Pick a specific something such as a pleasant sensation or a certain insight or idea and really attempt to cling to it. Notice what clinging feels like in your body and your mind. Try to relax the clinging. Imagine whatever you’ve clung to as something small in a great space, such as a single stone in a vast forest. Disengage from the over-thinking, ruminating, or obsessing. Help your body relax and soften, open your hands, let your mind open, and let the clinging go. Recognize the peace and pleasure in releasing clinging and let the sense of this sink into you. Go to that peaceful place accepting whatever the result you are fundamentally okay.
With a larger view, start to investigate things you cling to and ask yourself what is the real happiness there? Notice how the mind continually looks for a reward to get, a problem to solve, or a threat to avoid: something else to cling to. Bring your attention back to the present moment, to reading this article and to your breath. As the clinging recedes, let love take with its place with kind words and a gentle touch.
As you cling less, you will lighten up, stay out of quarrels, have more compassion, put things in perspective, forgive and forget. As you let experiences flow through you without clinging to past or future, you’ll feel the richness inherent in the present. We can and should feel passionate about our goals and work hard for them, but when there’s no clinging, we are at peace with whatever happens as our perfectly imperfect result.