Awake in the World

You never know where spiritual lessons will find you. Recently a man at Starbucks taught me to let go…and he didn’t even know it. I was sitting at a table outdoors writing and reflecting when the man came over and asked if I’d mind sharing the small table. “No,” I said softly. Even before he sat down, he moved the table, splashing my drink out of the cup and nearly knocking it over. This seemed normal behavior to him, no apologies. Then he started to smoke and blow it in my direction, I asked him to please move to another table farther away where another man smoked.

“I sit here every day. Same place,” he said adamant and angry. He aimed to keep what he considered to be his place and to chase me away with his offensive behavior. Another man next to me complained about the smoke and bad behavior, but the invader made it clear that it was his table and we were in his territory. If I would have been attached to the table, the tensions would have escalated and we would have warred over the territory of a Starbuck’s table! But both the man next to me and I left, abandoning the smoker to his attachment.

Attachment, when we have the ability to recognize it, can blind us to courtesy and kindness. Staking our territory and seeking control replace sharing and caring. Most people who think of attachment don’t think of it in such simple terms as a Starbuck’s table. But many of us have an equivalent in our lives. The territories and attachments in daily life can be as simple as needing to use a particular coffee mug or be with a certain friend or mate to feel happy.

The problem with attachment is that when the mind relies on these things, people or places outside of us for a sense of security or comfort, we can never find peace. Those outer things change, break and disappear, and if we cling to them then we end up on an emotional roller coaster.

Recognizing what physical things we cling to and letting go of reliance on it brings the gift of serenity and freedom. When the mind clings to the Divine within us the outer things lose their pull over us and it becomes possible to put things in perspective and find peace. Do you cling to anything or people for a sense of security? How might attachment transform to letting go?

Bio: Debra Moffitt is the award winning author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life and “Garden of Bliss: Cultivating the Inner Landscape for Self-Discovery” (Llewellyn Worldwide, February 2013). A visionary, dreamer and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices, writing and creativity in the U.S. and Europe. More at and on Facebook at:

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