I thought for a long time that attachment meant clinging to things such as wanting more material wealth, or finding a great job, or wanting a beautiful lady or man who would fall in love with you - you know, the really obvious things most people desire.
However, today I finally understood that attachment - while relating to the above "obvious" things - can be found in so many more...subtle ways, which create unnecessary mental suffering. For example, because of the recent heavy snow where I live, outside is now literally like an ice rink; it's incredibly difficult to walk in. As I was walking today, I was kind of frustrated because the pavements and roads were so slippery, I wished they were back to normal. And that's when it hit me.
People in general spend so much time worrying/complaining/wishing about things, and yet we don't realise that now - no matter what's happening - is bliss. Here I was, focusing on how unfortunate I was to be walking on the ice, how inconvenient it was for me, and yet the place looks beautiful covered in snow and the air is crisp and - even taking it to the extreme - I am able to walk out on it (my point being that there are people unable to walk at all who would find my "inconvenience" an absolute Godsend).
How many times do we moan and complain about life? "This is too hard!", "Life's a b*tch!", "Poor me!" How many problems are actually so significant, that we can't appreciate the good things going on around us? What is so bad that we have to waste our time and energy worrying and/or cursing about the things that are happening to us...things we even sometimes have no control over?
Even if problems are real and significant, they'll pass eventually. So many of us say "I can't wait until this day/week/month is over." Why? There's nothing that lies in the future that you can't work towards doing now, and that's the reason why "now" is bliss. There is always, always the chance to grow, develop, change things for the better, or accept and be at peace with what you can't change. Slight possibility is infinitely greater than having no possibility whatsoever, and as our lives are constantly in a state of change, there is always possibility.
There is nothing we can't do now. However, it is always impossible to do things in the future, or change what has already been.
I've heard older people say many times things like, "I wish I'd travelled more", or, "I should have been more active", or, "If only I had taken that chance when I could have" etc. They never took the opportunity of "now", they didn't see that "now" is always filled with potential, always the perfect moment to do anything. Want to travel? Plan/work towards/do now. Want to develop a business? Plan/work on/do now. Want to be a Buddha? Plan/work towards/do now. What is the alternative? To start tomorrow? How many people have said they'll start tomorrow, only to end up with a huge pile of empty yesterdays? That's why we have people who always wish they could go back, they have regrets because they never lived their present moments "wisely and earnestly".
And sure, nothing worth having comes quickly or takes minimal effort, but if you sincerely value the end result, you should always be willing to put in the time and lots of effort to achieve what you aim for, whatever that might be: No-one has ever leaped to the top of a mountain.
Perhaps it is easier to moan, to try to get sympathy, but the irony is that this kind of thing produces empty results AND it only ends up making us more depressed. Furthermore, people can only take so much negativity before they may try to avoid you.
Now is bliss. All the small things we complain about, all the hardships we think are upon us are (in most cases) nothing but our serving of the ego, and our unwillingness to let go of our attachments. In this moment, we can always do something - even in problematic situations, there is always something to learn, and even if you can't find anything to learn in that moment, to be at peace with it and to be able to accept that all experiences - good and bad - are the sum of who we are, is such a wonderful thing. Immediately we are stripped of the mental suffering that comes with being attached, and the great thing - for me - is that this isn't something that's hard to do at all...we always choose how we react to things, to this there is no exception. Situations can be bad, circumstances can be negative, this is life - but our mind doesn't have to follow in this way.
As Buddha said, "Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful."