I forget what we were talking about at the time, but a Hindu swami once said to me, "If the screw took sixteen turns to put in, it will take sixteen turns to get out." Down-home stuff, right?
But of course it's one thing to blow by some pithy nostrum and quite another to put it into action.
Let's suppose for a moment that what that Hindu and I had been talking about was attachment. Anyone who has ventured anywhere near that fiery pit knows how vast and bright and hot and confining the topic can be.
A little reflection on the what's and how's and why's of attachment and suddenly there is six-course meal in front of you. It's endless, it's intricate, it's painful, it's ... well, it's screwed down tighter than a coffin lid. No battery of thin-lipped sharia lawyers or well-dressed curia thugs -- no matter how comforting their thundering diktats to the shaken soul -- can offer any reprieve that amounts to much. When it comes to long and well-nourished and much-practiced attachment, there is no Tooth Fairy, no Santa Claus and no God no matter how alluring the advertising may be.
Put bluntly, you're screwed.
One whisper of doubt when it comes to much-beloved attachments -- to family, friends, sex, love, freedom, clothes, cars, employment ... -- and the genie is out of the bottle. You can't unthink a purple cow.
God, what an enormous job it is! The difficulties reach out to the furthest horizon. Just about the time one attachment seems to be loosening its grip, six more crop up to take its place. And that's not to mention the attachment to non-attachment. Talk about screwed!
Others may have their own approaches that may work perfectly well, but I favor attention as the screw driver most likely to do the job of unscrewing a screwed-up lifestyle. Day by day and week by week and year by year, just attention. Watch and watch and watch some more. There is no penalty and there is no prize -- that's for thumb-suckers. No need for approval or disapproval. Just watching.
And see what happens.