Unusual Attachment

A few weeks ago I broke my work coffee cup. There were many like it, but this one was mine. After I picked up the pieces, a couple of interesting things happened.

Firstly, I recalled part 3 of the Enchiridion, which funnily enough talks explicitly about how to deal with breaking a ceramic cup. It was one of those strange situations where an anecdote lines up with reality. I told myself it was just a cup, got another one out of the cupboard, and went on with my day.

After a few days I noticed something else. Previously when I had 'my' cup I manually cleaned it rather than putting in in the dishwasher, or if I did use the dishwasher, I'd hunt for my cup the next morning. It was the only cup I used. But now, I just pick any cup out of the cupboard, make my coffee, and put it in the dishwasher. This feels alarmingly freeing.

This seems stupid, and trivial, and it is. I'd unwittingly developed an attachment to a damn cup. How did this happen? What part of my monkey-brain decided that this cup was something that deserved my time and attention?

I know that the things you own end up owning you. As part of my Stoic practice I attempt to minimise my attachment. But this was a real eye-openner for me. I'd developed an attachment to something trivial without noticing. And when it was gone, I felt free. Every time I make coffee at work, I feel that freedom.

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