To Be Attached or Non-Attached?
Hopefully our first experience of attachment is a bond of love with our caregivers. Some scientists believe this bond is necessary for a child to be balanced and healthy, whilst others believe that this kind of attachment can create a level of dysfunctional dependency in the long run. So, what is this fine line?
There is not one individual in this world who is free from attachment. Even the holy renunciate will be attached to his spiritual path. Attachments can vary from something physical, (like food, clothes, and the place we live,) to mental attachments (like our beliefs, judgements, attitudes), to the spiritual (our thoughts, ideas, aspirations). None of these are healthy or appropriate no matter what holy and devout label we put upon them.
Attachment creates the belief
that I need this thing or person
to feel secure and happy.
One dictionary definition of attachment is: ‘an extra part or extension that is or may be attached to something to perform a particular function.’ This shows that our ‘attachments’ are not a part of our original DNA. We attach things to our self to give us a sense of purpose or being. To feel comfort or security. To give us a sense of identity. So since it was attached to me, but is not part of me, it shall one day also become detached from me. When that attachment is removed, what will be left? Just the spiritual being, the true me.
Attachment creates the belief that I need this thing or person to feel secure and happy. But what about when that ‘special something or someone’ is not there? What then? How well do I fair and can I cope? What if that loved one has to go away on a business trip or a field trip or goes off to university? What if the spring in my favorite sofa suddenly breaks, leaving me couch-less! Can I still feel comfortable until I get a new one? We may not realize that we have attachment to that thing until it is taken away from us. And unfortunately, at this point we are made to realize this only through the pain of detachment; the not having, and we are left with a sense of loss.
The opposite of attachment is Love.
Pain is a signal telling me, there is something I need to change. Our body will tell us that we need to fix something through some physical symptom of pain. This is equally true for the soul, when something is not right at an emotional, mental and spiritual level then we will experience some form of painful dis-connect, we call this suffering. Because if that attachment was natural and pure there would be no experience of pain, only love comfort and security.
Attachment is an illusion, fooling us into thinking it brings a lifetime guarantee of happiness. But when attachment is demystified, we can see the truth of the matter and sometimes we can have a literal heart attack! Remember, anything that brings us happiness today, and that we are attached to, will surely bring us pain and suffering – that is the fine print that got missed in the guarantee.
Pain is a signal telling me,
there is something I need to change.
For example, a coffee addict seeks the coffee buddy out and like bees to a hive, they are magnetically attracted to the freshly brewing coffee machine. The aroma itself is enough to help navigate them there! Initially there is the high of the coffee experience, but over time, I have known many people who have developed migraine. The illusion is, they think they need the coffee to eliminate the migraine, but the truth is the coffee is the culprit for the pain in their head!
There is that comforting feeling associated with the memories of my attachment. It is that feeling that I so desperately seek every time I am on the look-out for my attachment fix. For example, the satisfaction that I get when eating a hot muffin, or the feeling of love through a warm hug, and the sense of security when receiving a paycheck. It is not literally the cake, the person or the money that creates that feeling, but my own internal associated experience. In other words – how that makes me feel.
…do not confuse the trigger for
that experience with the experience
itself by creating attachment to the stimulus.
Perhaps, another food item, another person, or another asset may give the same or similar feeling. So, am I really just using that person or that thing to get my emotional fix? Yes, enjoy everything that this wonderful world has to offer. There are many ways to stimulate the senses, our thoughts and our emotions, but do not confuse the trigger for that experience with the experience itself by creating attachment to the stimulus. The experience created is within, the stimulus and the trigger are without.
As you go about your day today, check if you are doing things out of love or attachment? Practice doing some of those things without those attachments for a certain period of time and see how well you manage your mood. Does your happiness stay constant despite the lack? Or are you suffering from some withdrawal symptoms?
Love is liberating and freeing whilst attachment is a form of a trap. Love is eternal and unconditional, whilst attachment is conditional and a bondage. Love empowers, attachment weakens.
It’s Time… to let the love shine and break our attachment to attachment, and be non-attached.
© ‘It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London, UK