It’s a peaceful philosophy that emphasizes non-attachment and the art of letting go.
But have you also considered that it might be able to help you not give a f*ck?
Yep, by practicing some simple Zen philosophies, you’ll be able to let go of little things that don’t matter so you can focus on what really does.
First, What Not Giving a F*ck Really Means
I’ve always been reluctant to use this phrase as it can be associated with a reckless teen that values nothing and wouldn’t bat an eyelid to wrongdoing.
But that’s not what we’re talking about.
Zen Buddhism is a peaceful philosophy that emphasizes compassion and kindness to all sentient beings.
By opening our heart and mind to others, we can see the goodness in everyone, which in turn will bring out the good in us.
According to Buddhists, what goes around comes around. So if you want to be treated with respect and compassion, you should do the same for others.
Opening your heart to others will allow you stop reacting negatively. You’ll be at peace with other people because you’ll see the positive energy in others, and in turn you’ll be less likely to care if they do something that’s annoying.
The Art of Letting Go
The first noble truth of Buddhism is that desiring leads to suffering.
These desires can vary from material objects, sensual pleasures or even your relationships. The reason desiring causes suffering is because attachments are transient and loss is inevitable.
Buddhism says that the only constant in the universe is change, and by desiring you are trying to control and make something fixed. Suffering will follow because you are going against the forces of the universe, which is what causes anxiety, depression and negative emotions.
The trick is to focus your mind on the present moment and bask in the glory of now. By doing this, you’ll be able to let go of desiring and simply enjoy the experience of the present moment.
You’ll be able to more easily let go of negative emotions.
The Art of Non-Attachment
In a similar fashion, by relying on outside forces to control our emotions, it shows we’re not happy inside.
Buddhist’s say that to be truly content and at peace, we need to be comfortable with ourselves. In that way, no matter our circumstances, we will always be at peace.
The best way to get comfortable with ourselves is to practice non-attachment.
Many people get the philosophy of detachment wrong. They think it involves avoiding life and negative emotions. However, the key is to embrace all emotions.
People who have mastered non-attachment avoid getting entangled in negative emotions. Instead, they acknowledge, accept and even embrace them.
They don’t stifle their emotions, but let them rise naturally and dissolve on their own.
They understand that change is the only constant in the universe, and realize that no matter how uncomfortable a negative feeling is, it will eventually pass.
While it takes time and effort to practice this concept, all of us are capable of practising acceptance.
Mitch Albom explains why accepting your emotions allows you to detach:
“Take any emotion—love for a woman, or grief for a loved one, or what I’m going through, fear and pain from a deadly illness. If you hold back on the emotions—if you don’t allow yourself to go all the way through them—you can never get to being detached, you’re too busy being afraid. You’re afraid of the pain, you’re afraid of the grief. You’re afraid of the vulnerability that loving entails. “But by throwing yourself into these emotions, by allowing yourself to dive in, all the way, over your head even, you experience them fully and completely. You know what pain is. You know what love is. You know what grief is. And only then can you say, ‘All right. I have experienced that emotion. I recognize that emotion. Now I need to detach from that emotion for a moment’.”
To practice this, try meditation for 10 minutes a day and accept all emotions and feelings that come your way. Soon you’ll begin to understand yourself and how your mind works so you can let go of attachments to outside forces.
By practicing non-attachment and letting go, outside forces will be less likely to affect you. While you’ll still give a f*ck when it matters, you’ll be able to let go of the little worries that offer no benefit to your life.
Originally published on The Power of Ideas.