In the novel Illusions, the protagonist Richard is sitting in an open field with his mystical guru Donald Shimoda.
Richard is learning how to make clouds disappear using the will of his mind. After an enormous struggle, he makes a tiny wisp of a cloud disappear from the sky and turns to his teacher for approval.
Shimoda: You’re not very fast, are you?
Richard: That was my first time! I’m just beginning! Up against the impossible … well, the improbable, and all you can think to say is I’m not very fast. That was brilliant and you know it!
Shimoda: Amazing. You were so attached to it, and still it disappeared for you.
Richard: Attached! I was whacking that cloud with everything I had! Fireballs, laser beams, vacuum cleaner a block high …
Shimoda: Negative attachments, Richard. If you really want to remove a cloud from your life, you do not make a big production out of it, you just relax and remove it from your thinking. That’s all there is to it.
Attachment works like the modulus sign in mathematics. Negative attachments retain their absolute value despite their sign. That is why love and hate aren’t opposites, but two faces of the same coin.
The most effective means to make a cloud disappear is not to fight it with every muscle in your body, but to relax and remove it from our thinking.