What I Mean When I Say Attachment to Achieving


This blog is about motivation and about an attachment to achieving, and I mean attachment in the buddhist/yoga sense of the word. For buddhists, Attachment is the origin, the root of suffering; hence it is the cause of suffering. The idea is “Grasping at things can only yield one of two results: Either the thing you are grasping at disappears, or you yourself disappear. It is only a matter of which occurs first.” Goenka.  So attachment to achieving would be a craving, a holding on tightly and grasping for achievement until either you or the achievement disappears. You can see that there can be too much of this.  There can be a sense that you’ve lost your self in your trophies and awards.  The things that make you, well, you, disappear. Time with the dog, being present when your kids tell you that same knock-knock joke for the 14th time, it can disappear when all you’re focused on is getting to the next thing.

That’s what I mean by being attached to achieving, and that’s what I mean by being an achievement junkie.  When you bypass all the life stuff to “succeed”.  There is a great Pema Chodron quote about being too busy for life that Andrea Miller discusses in her Editorial (linked below).

“In the dream, she was in the country, perhaps at a monastery, and everyone there was busily preparing for the arrival of Khandro Rinpoche, one of today’s preeminent women Vajrayana teachers.

“Ani Pema,” Khandro Rinpoche said when she finally arrived. “Did you see the sunrise this morning?”

“No, Rinpoche, I didn’t. I was too busy.”

Khandro Rinpoche laughed and laughed. “Too busy to live life?” she asked.

Since having this dream, Pema Chödrön says that whenever she finds herself getting all caught up and habitually, compulsively doing something, she thinks, “Too busy to live life? Too busy to be there for the sun coming up or to notice anything?””

For more on this, read the great article Buddha’s Daughters on Shambhala Sun.

This is the goal. To not be attached to success and its little markers and goal posts so much that I miss actually living my life.  Paying attention enough to notice when my boyfriend is being truly goofy so as to make me smile. That moment of goofy is life, it’s the good life in fact.


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