Attachments get a bad rap these days, but they are the very stuff of life; interdependent beings can’t be unattached to air, water and so on.
The crucial segue is awareness; only when we are unconscious of an attachment can trouble follow. When we’re aware of an attachment, we behave much more better.*
Many attachments feel like investments: I put something I value into something outside me, expecting to be enhanced. “Big” ones may include career, family, bank account, lover, child. Less essential attachments might include being popular, getting a new car, fashionable hair, a golf score.
Attachments are easy to spot when they’re about money or things; for some reason, it’s harder to see them when they’re about our hidden sense of well-being.
It may take a little practice to wake up to an attachment. Some are flagged by worry or expectation. See if you can track it down to the investment that’s driving it. For example:
|“I’m bored. I gotta go to the bar.”||excitement? novelty? avoiding loneliness?|
|“She’s got to see things my way.”||being in control?|
|“I’m not showing up at HER party!”||people’s approval?|
|“I spoke to him in the hall, but he looked away!”||ego (sense of self)?|
The Tales Wagged
Troublesome attachments make me feel out on a limb: I feel I’ll be damaged if a person or thing or institution doesn’t give me what I want, need, doesn’t cooperate with my agenda. I count on them to supply me something I think I need to survive. Inwardly (invisibly), I’m screaming like a hungry infant.
An attachment is like a “treasure,” and deep down inside, I’m attached to (invested in) my treasures. And if they’re on earth, I’m nervous, pure and simple, because they ARE gonna fade. This law is as reliable as gravity.
Good news is, I can, little by little, put tiny bit of space between an attachment and my sense of well-being. Every time I do, it’s like a little bit of heaven on earth.
*(I know it’s bad grammar, but it helped me think more clearly.)
Practicing Non-Attachment (Letting Go)
Notice what you “bank on” for well-being.
Of course, you may need a car for your job, and need a job to pay for your car, but they become troublesome only when you’re terrorized by the thought of losing them. It’s a curious paradox, but we’re happiest when we remember that we can lose anything.
At death, of course, we will lose every thing. Good to take heed of this now, so as not to squander our lives; it’s good to get some dying done early.