EPISODE 15: “Your Greatest Cause Of Suffering – Attachment”
Have you ever wondered why you’re so unhappy at times? Have you often wished you were happier?
Well, it’s possible, and you can be because your happiness is 100% reflective of your internal state. It does not come from outside of you, it comes from with it which means it’s an absolute choice to what degree you’re going to be happy.
The Buddha said something along the lines of “Your greatest causes of suffering is attachment.”
What do you ATTACH to? Homes, cars, money, people, ideas, beliefs?
The biggest cause of suffering for most is that they attach to “things” and when the things are not aligned with how they think they should be, they are then happy and “suffering.”
In this episode I discuss:
And much, much more…
“You are only to perform your duty without an eye on their fruits.” — Bhagavad Gita
You're listening to episode number 15 of the Transform your Life from the Inside Out podcast. In this episode, I'm going to talk about the major cause of your suffering, or at the very least, the cause of your unhappiness and your frustration. And that is attachment. Stay tuned. Hi, I'm Jim Fortin, and you're about to start transforming your life from the inside out with this podcast. I'm widely considered the leader in subconscious transformation, and I've coached superachievers all around the world for over 25 years here. You're going to find no ra-ra motivation and no hype, because this podcast is a combination of brain science, transformational psychology, and ancient wisdom all rolled into one the take your life to levels you've never thought possible. If you're wanting a lot more in life, to feel better, to heal, to have peace of mind, to feel powerful and alive, to bring more abundance and prosperity into your life, then this podcast is for you. Because you're going to start learning how to master your mind and evolve your consciousness. And when you do that, anything you want then becomes possible for you. I'm glad you're here.
You Are Limited By Your Expectations of Others
I want you to think back to a time in the past. I want you to think back to a time in the past that you really wanted something, and you didn't get it. And when you didn't get it, if you think back to that time, were you frustrated? Upset? Unhappy? Angry? Disappointed? What I want you to notice is that if you were frustrated, angry, upset, disappointed, sad, whatever it might be, the reason that you were that emotional state is because you were attached to the outcome that you thought you wanted. You know, the Buddha said that the greatest cause of suffering is attachment. And as we're going through this episode, I think you're going to see a lot of yourself in here. And you're going to see that a lot of your frustration in life, or your anger, or your disappointment, and your sadness, most likely has come from your attachment to something, whether it be a material thing, maybe it's a person, maybe it's ideas, beliefs. But make no mistake about it. When you're actually suffering to some degree, it's because it is driven by your attachments.
You know as I just said, people attach to all kinds of things. Many people when they hear stuff like this, they start thinking material things. And people attached to many things material, homes and cars, and jewelry, and property, and money, and all these things that they actually think bring more value to their life. And many times, without even recognizing it, many attachments actually complicate life and make life even more difficult. But you know, people do attach to things, they attach to outcomes, and they even attach to ideas. And when I say ideas, for example, that could be people attached to political parties, people attached to their particular religions. And I'm sure you've noticed that people even fight and kill people over their attachments to their ideas. And that needs no defense or explanation when you look around the world. You know, when it comes to attachment, and I'm finding my way through this podcast as I'm recording it for you guys. And it's such a big part of me apprenticing with a shaman. I've done this for 24 years, and I did explain a little bit about what a shaman is. They are sears, or healers, they were the advisers to Mayan kings. It's the oldest system of thought on the planet archaeologists have discovered. So I find myself in each episode bringing lessons that I've learned from the shaman that's mentored me, which is my brother-in-law. Many years ago, even though I'm a native Texan, I lived in New York City for about four years, and I remember the day that he and I were talking on the phone. And he said to me, and I remember going back to my apartment because I was out walking around, and I wrote this down when he said it to me, and I bet you listening right now, what he said to me is probably going to apply to many of you as well. He said to me, and he calls me Jimmy, he says, "Jimmy, one of your biggest limitations is your expectations of other people. You attach your expectations to other people. And then when they don't perform, and they don't do what you want them to do, you're angry, or frustrated, or sad, or whatever the negative emotion might be." But he said, "Those expectations are the cause of a lot of your mental suffering."
So I'm going to ask you. Because expectation is attachment. How many people do you allow to call suffering in your life because you're attached to their behavior? Do you have expectations of how your partner is supposed to be? Do you have expectations of the way that your kids are supposed to be? Now, mind you, obviously as parents, I mean you have expectations for how ever you want to rear your child. And I understand that completely. But let me change the wording here. Are you trying to control other people? Are you a control freak? Because if you're trying to control other people, you are attached to the idea of control. And you are attached to controlling the behavior of the person that you're trying to control. You know, you may have heard me say before that control is an illusion. And the interesting thing is this, is that people that get into control, like control freaks, people that get into control are controlled by the illusion of control. And think about that, if you're a control freak, there's nothing you can control. Nothing. You can't even control, even though I use the word, it's colloquial, you cannot even control your own thinking. Because notice, sometimes when you don't want to think something negative, boom! It pops into your mind. You're like, why is it popping into my mind? We can choose our thinking, but we can't control our thinking. So control, there's nothing that you can control. But most people try to control everything in their life. Whether it be other people, or their money, their situations, or their work, or their whatever. And I'm going to talk some more about control in a different episode. But there's nothing that you can control in your life. You can only choose. And if you get into the illusion of control, you're controlled by that very illusion without even recognizing that you're being controlled by the illusion.
Also, expectations of others is attachment, which I've alluded to just a bit. When you have an expectation of how other people are supposed to be, you're attached! Make no mistake about it. You are attached to how that person is supposed to be. And then turning, you know, looking back at me again in the example that I was giving about me, then what happens is because we have an attachment, and we have an expectation about somebody's behavior, and many times it's our mother, and our mother-in-law, or you know, different people in our family or our friends, and when they don't actually, when they don't respond in the way that we actually are attached to, then that calls us mental frustration and suffering within us. Something else, I think you're starting to recognize is that, expectations set you up for disappointment. You know, it's normal like for example in relationships, I see this a lot. Many times, people want their partners to love them in the way that they want to be loved. And then because their partner doesn't love them in the way that they want to be loved, they feel like they're not loved. So something that I want to share with you is something that I learned many years ago, is just because people don't love you in the way that you want to be loved, doesn't mean that they aren't loving you with everything that they have. So let go of the attachment about how people are supposed to love you, which by the way is something we'll talk about.
In another episode later is about many of us, a cause of frustration, which is also attachment, is we don't only want what we want in life, we want what we want many times in the way that we want it. You know, a simple metaphor there is let's say for example that you want chocolate chip cookies, and your partner says, yes, I'm going to make you chocolate chip cookies. And they make them, and they bring them to you, and then you're unhappy. Why? Because you're attached in the way that you wanted them. And I'm going to slow down here because I want a lot of you. I want you listening right now, to look at your own life. How often are you frustrated with your partner because they don't do something in the way that you want it? They do it for you, but not in the way that you want it. So back to the the metaphor, chocolate chip cookies. So you want chocolate chip cookies, and your partner actually makes them for you. And then you're like, well, I'm not happy about this. Why? Because I wanted them warm, and I wanted them with a glass of milk. And I wanted them later in the evening. And I wanted them deliver it on a silver platter. So because you didn't deliver them in the way that I wanted them delivered, I'm not happy about it. Because I was attached to the way that I wanted them delivered. You know, I had a client one time, to give you an example of attachment. I don't really do any one to one coaching right now, everything is group. And back when I was coaching, him, I was very busy. I was working alone at this point, and running everything myself. And when I would send the next week's homework, many times, let's say we had our call on Monday, I would send the homework on Tuesday. And he sent me an email that the second or third weekend, and he says, "Jim, I have to tell you. I don't feel like you're committed to me." And I said, "What's causing you to say that?" And he goes, "Well, you're not sending my homework right after the next call, I mean, right after we're done." And what I had noticed in his behavior is not only did he want his homework, he wanted his homework exactly when he wanted it, and the way that he wanted it. And when I brought this to his awareness, he's like, "you know what, you've hit on something here, because my wife says the same thing about me..." And he goes, "that causes me a lot of stress in my life, is because people don't do what I want them to do, when I want them to do it."
All right, the Buddha says your number one cause of suffering is attachment, and that is attachment to how people do things. So, you right now, I want you to take a step back. And I want you to look at all the places in your life that you're frustrated, and you're disappointed, and you're upset with people, and you're angry. And you trace it back, and you will probably notice that you are in some way attached to what they are doing, or what they are not doing, based upon what you think they should or should not be doing. I also want to point out and create a subtle distinction here. You may or may not have heard of what's called the law of expectation. And that is, we get what we expect. What I want to predominantly, you know, get you to think here, is not so much about that because I'm going to talk a little more about it. But specifically, I want you to look at people and outcomes and your attachment. Because as you already realize when people don't do what you want them to do, which you're attached to people, then many times you may get frustrated, or if you don't get the outcome that you want. And I see that a lot by coaching entrepreneurs and selling professionals and a variety of professionals. Is that when people don't hit the sales goal they expected, or their launch doesn't go the way they expected, or their programs or whatever, now they're frustrated. Why? Because they're attached to the outcome.
And you know, we've heard that for.. And by the way, even in medicine it's been demonstrated that when people are given, for example a placebo, and they're told that it's morphine, when they expect to get relief from the placebo, 75% of the time they get significant relief as if they were taking morphine, and it's not even morphine. So expectation does play a role, and I understand that, and I want to create that distinction. But again, to reiterate, what I want to do is to get you to start looking at what are you expecting about outcomes? And what are you expecting of others? I also want to say, when I was thinking through this episode, and what I wanted to share with you, is that I really dont or no longer have a lot of expectations in my life to a large degree. I mean, I'm human I'm on the planet. I'm working on my own stuff as well. But I don't work from, this is what I want, I'm going to put it out to the universe, and now I have positive expectancy. I want to create a subtle distinction. Where I work from is knowing. Because I've had so many experiences in my life, that when I use my higher sense, and there will be an episode on that at some point, when I use my sense, not my common sense, but my sense which people call the sixth sense, when I use that sense and I put something out to the universe with knowing, more times than not, it always returns to me exactly as I've asked the universe for it.
So I don't work from expectation any longer. And trust me, I used to, about outcomes and people and everything else, as evidenced to a little earlier. Where I think the majority where I worked from this day is, whatever I want to create, I put it out to the universe mentally, I set my intention, and I know at some point when in the time is right, and I'm in the right alignment, it will show up in my life. Before I keep going in this episode, I want to go back to the analogy that I've used before in another episode, and you may or may not have heard it, but the metaphor is about a rental car. You know when you go on vacation, you may fly somewhere, let's say you're going to go to LA. Actually, no, that's that's that's a bad airport, my interpretation. I don't like that airport. Let's pick somewhere nice. Let's pick Jackson Hole, Wyoming. If you've never been there, a very powerful place. Let's say you're going to Jackson Hole Wyoming on vacation, or Sedona, Arizona. And I just throw that in for fun, and people that know me will get a giggle out of that. But let's say you go to Jackson Hole Wyoming. And you fly there, you rent a car, and you drive it around the whole time that you're there. And you go to the mountains, and maybe you got to Yellowstone. And you know, it's an amazing place. Then what you do, when your vacation is over, you take your rental car back to the agency, back to the airport, you drop it off, and you'll fly home. Well, that's the metaphor that I use for life. Is that your body, whatever your body, you know your body. Well, let's leave it at that. We learn that we are our bodies, and you are not your body. You are a cosmic life force that's actually just temporarily inhabiting the body.
Your body is like a rental car. You come to the planet because you were obviously somewhere before you came here because you're an infinite cosmic being. You hop in the body which is your rental car. You drive it around, you leave the rental car, which means you leave the body, and you go home. So, when you go home, when you leave the body, you take nothing with you, except the what's called personal power that you created while you're on the planet. So, my point here is that you don't own anything except what you become, and evolved into while you're on the planet. And you know, the interesting thing about people, we, this is a fact you've heard before we come into the world of nothing we leave of nothing. People own nothing, but they attach to almost everything in their life. Isn't that interesting? When you really think about that? And even farther here, is another interesting thing, is even though that we own nothing, people actually attach to everything they think "they own." And then eventually what happens is the things that they own actually own them. And it's a paradox that most people don't even see. And when I say things that people own, own them, how you know, maybe you, maybe you've been trapped in a mortgage. Maybe you bought a car you couldn't afford. Maybe it's money. But I want you to notice the things that you think that you own many times actually trap you, as oppose to giving you freedom. Which is what most of us want is we want more freedom, but we're trapped by the things that we think will give us freedom, and they don't.
I also want to point out about attachment of things. I am all because I live that way. I'm all for you having everything that you want. You want a Ferrari, I want you to have it. You want a big home in the mountains, or the beach or whatever, I want you to have it. The difference, the subtle difference however, is that own it, but do not be attached to it. You know, the California fire that started in Thousand Oaks back several months ago, one of my best friend lives in Thousand Oaks. And he and his wife were having a bit of a challenge with the fires escaping. There was even fire and his office parking lot. And I called my brother-in-law, and I was talking to him about it, and actually asking him to assist. And something that he said very quickly, is that so many people cause so much actually, lack of safety in her life because her actually attached to the possessions that they're trying to save as opposed to just fling. Why? Because anything that's possession, and I mean anything, even if it's priceless or a family heirloom, it's just things. And most of it can be replaced. Okay, your stories, what stories are you attached to, from simple stories to large stories? Simple stories can be, "I'm no good at dancing." And if you say that over and over and over again, you're attached to it. Or "you know what, I just can't lose weight, or its hard for me to make money, or I just can't get ahead, or the universe is against me." Look at your stories. And then I ask you what stories are you attached to? What big stories are you attached to? Which also come from your belief systems. I mean, what political party you look on Facebook and it's absolutely ridiculous, the garbage that people get into. Personally, I don't really use Facebook anymore. I do for my training programs because we have Facebook groups. But since the last election, it's a lot of people argue for the sake of arguing because they're attached to their ideas. And I see people actually unfriending people because they're attached to their politics. And you know what, someday and time, it's all going to blow over, and it's going to be you know, down the road at some point. None of it's going to matter. But what I'm asking you is what big stories, what are the big stories that you attach to that actually, when they don't happen like you want, they keep you trapped.
Something else, is what desires do you attach to? I have a degree in political science and psychology. And I'm not a partisan, and I don't even follow politics anymore. Out of college, I did work in politics for a bit. But I'm more of a humanitarian, in terms of my values. And out of college, I worked at the Carter Presidential Center, which is all humanitarian. Jimmy Carter, I don't really care what your opinions are about his presidency, but that man has truly used his life in a very powerful way. I mean people think that he just does Habitat for Humanity and you know, that's about it. That's like 1% of what that man does. He monitors elections all around the world. I mean, he's cured by getting pharmaceutical companies involved, with all these like river blindness in Africa. I mean the things that he does, it's amazing. What I want to share with you about attachment is in 1993, there was a job opening that was, it was the assistant to President Carter's Chief of Staff. And it wasn't like an assistant where you type letters and stuff like that, it was more of like, well anyway, it wasn't like a secretarial assistant, so to speak. And I really really wanted that job. I mean, I really wanted it. And I was talking to a good friend of mine, and he shared something with me that I think a lot of you might get. And he said to me, he said, "If you get that job, that's going to be great. And if you don't get that job, that's also going to be great." And the reality was, I didn't get the job.
And had I gotten the job, I would not be doing this podcast right now, most likely. Why? Because I probably would at this point be Chief of Staff at the Carter Presidential Center. Because I appreciate the work that he does. I mean, the work to help people is, that's my highest value, to serve and to help people. So I may still be there, who knows. But anyway, because I didn't get the job, it took me on a completely different path. And that path has led to where I am today, 25 years later. So, you know when you're looking at jobs and you're looking at things, do you attach to it? Let me give you another example about attaching the things. I just put in an offer on a home in Sedona, Arizona last weekend. And the home that I looked at, I manifested, I saw it on the MLS, and I'm like, that's my home. But I didn't make it to Sedona for about three weeks to see the property. And when I got there, and when I saw the house, I walked in the door, and I'm like, I'm home. This is my home. And I'm, definitely I want to make an offer on this property. And then, the very next day, my agent told me that another couple, they were back for their third visit on which was last Friday, and I went back for my second visit on last Friday. Now, the old part of me would have gotten attached thinking about scarcity and like, oh my God, I got to make an offer on this property. I have to make an offer because if I don't somebody is going to get it before me. I didn't go there at all. Where I went was, you know what, this is the property that I currently desire. I'm going to put in an offer. If the offer is accepted, that is great. If the offer is not accepted, well then guess what, there is a different and better home for me. Well, we're still in the process of the loan process, but my offer was accepted.
So, what I want to share with you is do not attach to the outcomes. Because if you attach to the outcome, and you get something, or you don't get it, if you reverse that, you want and you don't get it, maybe there's something out there better for you. And maybe you've actually limited yourself, by not actually waiting for that better thing to come for you. So just look at your life, and look at what you attach to. Because let's say for example, that I attached to that property, and I'm like, I have to have, that is my home, I have to have it. And then if I didn't get it, look how much disappointment and sadness and everything else that I would be in. Because I didn't get it, because I was attached to it. So also what pertains to me, pertains to you. So be very careful with your attachments. One of the places that I work from also, is that everything, and this is a big thing for people to get their mind around, but everything is perfect as it is now. I'm exactly where I need to be right now. Let me give you an example here. I am, I had to speak out of an event in Dallas a couple of years ago, and I live in Dallas. And, the event was only about two exits from my house. And I was closing out the event as a keynoter. And I got a, and it's only two exits as you know from my house. It's not far but I got a late start about five minutes. And I was rushing to the event. And I was actually even on the access road because it's closed. And I was rushing to the event. There's a three lane Highway on the act on the tollway, the access road. And all three cars in front of me were all driving like at 30 miles an hour, and I couldn't get around any of them. And as we were approaching a major intersection, the car in the middle, when the light turned yellow sped up and ran into the intersection. And they got T-boned by another car running a red light or running a light at about 60 miles an hour. I mean, it was like boom! This massive explosion right in front of me.
And I thought to myself, you know what, if that car wasn't there, there's a good chance that I would have been in that intersection the second that other car, you know, also entered the intersection, and I would have been hit. And in that moment, it was very clear to me, that I was exactly where I needed to be in that moment, which improbability created safety for me. So that may be helpful to you as well, is literally that's where I work from. I'm exactly where I need to be, and life is exactly as it needs to be in this moment for my highest learning and my highest growth. Let me share a quote here from the bhagavad-gita that may help you, and it may bring this home. I do what I do, because I couldn't do anything other than what I do. Meaning, sharing content, and coaching, and training like this. This is why I am on the planet. I do my Dharma. I do what I'm here to do. When I promote my programs, I don't attach to the outcomes. Meaning, how many people are going to register? What I do, is I put it out there, and I let the energy, and the vibration, and the frequency, I let that work for me. So what I'm sharing with you here, and I'll give you a quote from the bhagavad-gita. What I do is what I do, which brings me joy and serves other people. And then I let the outcomes take care of themself. The bhagavad-gita quote is this, "You only perform your duty without an eye on their fruits." Basically what it means, is what I just shared with you which is how I operate. I just do what I do. And then whatever is going to happen, you know, the fruit of my labor is going to happen. But I don't keep an eye on what's going to happen. What I do, is I do what I do. And I set in the knowing that I know when I do what I do, everything else will take care of itself.
I also want to say that I wasn't that way in the past. My brother-in-law told somebody else that also works with him, referring to me, and he doesn't gossip about us, with somebody very close to me. And he said about me to someone else, and the person told me, which is probably in the plan all along for my brother-in-law, knowing the person would tell me. But he said, "One of Jimmy's biggest limitations is he's like a racehorse. And he's in a race, and let's say that he's the lead horse. What he does, is he keeps looking back behind him and she were the other horses are. And if there are no horses gaining, then he actually takes it easy." And that's correct. That's how I used to operate in the world, because you know what? I had some attachment to the outcome, and the outcome, well, this is going to be easy. I no longer work that way. I do what I do, and whatever happens as a result of what I do is exactly what happens. Something else I want to share with you if you look at your worry and your fear, think about something that you worry about, think about something that you fear. Have you noticed? That's all attachment. Many people also attach to the past and to the future. I see people that are attached to anger. Literally, 3, 5, 8, 10, 15, 20 years old, and it doesn't even exist anymore.
I remember one lady that I had in coaching many years ago. She goes, "I am mad at my husband. I am so, so angry at him." And I said, 'what are you angry about?" She goes, "I'm angry about our divorce." And I said, "when did the divorce happen?" And she said, "Oh ten years ago." And my thought to myself is really? And of course, I didn't say this to her, but really? You're angry and you're attached to something that happened ten years ago, and hasn't even existed in your life for ten years. So I ask you, look at your own life. What are you attached to from the past? Or what are you attached to in the future? And I did actually record an episode recently on being in the present. I'm not sure which episode, and I wish I knew right now which episode number that was, but being in the present. Something else I want to share here, and this is a little more esoteric for a lot of people. But I've been here emotionally, and I know early on when I was learning to master this and live in this way. I was thinking one day as like well, you know, if I give up my attachments, then what means anything to me? And what I've noticed in myself over the years and for a lot of people, is that being not attached to things scares a lot of people, because people define themselves by their attachments. And if they no longer have an attachment, then they're worried about how they're going to define themselves. And that comes down to something else I've learned over the years, and it's very very actually, what's the word, it's a bit clandestine. It's a bit esoteric, and it's also very powerful when you get it. And that is two words that is, JUST BE. Just be who you are right now. Now, when you be who you are right now, that is non-attachment.
Okay, so your transformational take away this week. If I had to give you one, that's a very solid one. I would say, you may want to write this down, is you were only to perform your duty without an eye on their fruits, from the Bhagavad Gita. I think that's a very powerful transformational take away because it encapsulates everything that I've said here in today's episode. And you know, when the quote talks about duties, let's just actually infer that to all of our attachments with people. It's just, be who you are, and do what you do, and everything else will take care of itself. Okay, next episode is a Q&A episode on Monday. And that episode is going to be the question that I got. Which longer email which I'll read to you next the next podcast. But the question is, why do I keep quitting on myself? So if you've wondered why you start exercising, or you start some kind of change program, or you do this, and you don't follow through or you don't, you know, follow through with some practice that you want to do, you're quitting on yourself. And if you've if you've ever wondered why you keep quitting on yourself, then whatever you do, make sure that you listen to the next episode. Okay, that wraps this one up. I want to tell you again, I'm humbled by all of you that are listening and sharing in the feedback. And I'm grateful to be able to serve. And I'll catch you over, on the next episode. Make an awesome day. Take care. Bye bye.
Thank you for listening to this entire podcast. If you're the kind of person who likes to help others, then share this with your friends and family. You know, if you found value, they will too. So, please share via your social media channels. Also, if you have questions, I'm here to assist. You can email me questions to support@JimFortin.com, and I may even use your question for a future podcast episode. Also, if you want transformational content like this daily, connect with me on Instagram. My Instagram name is @iamJimFortin. Finally, I do have a personal request. I believe that we're all here to help others and to grow and evolve ourselves. Together, you and I, let's help more people. If you would please, leave a review on iTunes, and a good one, by the way. I'd be grateful, and through your assistance together, we can transform more lives. Thanks for listening.