Shenpa is a Tibetan word that literally translates as “attachment”. In the philosophy of Buddhism (see footnote) all our suffering comes from our unwillingness to release our attachments when the time comes. Attachments are okay, it’s the inability to release them that is the challenge. Attachments can be big or small; emotional or physical; from social slights (loss of prestige or social position) to the loss of a loved one or the breakup of a relationship.
Shenpa can be thought of as the emotional hook something has in us or “the urge”. The urge to have that second helping, or to say an unkind word or a catty, gossipy thing, to give into our baser desires instead of doing as well as we know. Negative attachments can be as subtle as a habitual pattern of approaching everything with a critical, judgmental mind.
How to get unhooked from negative patterns, habits that don’t serve us, urges we regret?
The path to getting unhooked:
– Awareness of the challenge
– Acceptance of the need to change
– Observe/Record the Cycle/Pattern
– Create a “Pattern Interrupt”
– Feel the Urge, Acknowledge it, Sit with it, Release it. Repeat. It will weaken over time.
– Accumulate Self Knowledge
– Seek Assistance/Solicit Supportive Feedback from qualified others/literature
Break the pattern down: what are the triggers? The sooner in a cycle you can catch or perform a pattern interrupt the better. What “needs” does the attachment purport to serve? Can you substitute a better pattern/habit that fulfills the same need? (Sign up for volleyball league to break pattern of happy hour drinking, find new friends to replace energy vampires). Journaling leads to awareness and supports focus. Meditation creates possibility. The practice of observing your thoughts rise up without being hooked by them, continually pulling your attention back to your mantra or your breathing creates the power to feel an itch and not scratch it, a wonderful power to have!
In its pure, original form Buddhism is NOT a religion but a philosophy, a way of looking at the world, of dealing with life. Buddhism has no “god”, the Buddha was merely an “enlightened one” who offered to show the path to enlightenment to all, a state available to one and all.
As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier