Grasping is the source of all our problems. Since impermanence to us spells anguish, we grasp on to things desperately, even though all things change. We are terrified of letting go, terrified, in fact, of living at all, since learning to live is learning to let go. And this is the tragedy and the irony of our struggle to hold on: Not only is it impossible, but it brings us the very pain we are seeking to avoid.
The intention behind grasping may not in itself be bad; there’s nothing wrong with the desire to be happy, but what we try to grasp on to is by nature ungraspable.
The Tibetans say that you cannot wash the same dirty hand twice in the same running river, and “no matter how much you squeeze a handful of sand, you will never get oil out of it.”