Our Worst Hidden Enemies!
We might be attached to certain people, objects or maybe even a place or two.
But what do the rest of our personal problems have to do with attachment?
Every problem serious or silly comes from our discontented grasping at something outside of ourselves.
The words attachment or grasping might sound vicious to some people.
But since I will be using it often, I would like to clarify that the meaning of attachment is less rough than it sounds.
Attachments are those things we look to for happiness, security and protection.
In other words we see a part of ourselves in something or someone and try not to let it go.
We would be terrified by the idea of losing a leg, an arm or maybe even cutting off a few inches of our hair.
The reason why is because it is part of us.
The same applies to our attachments.
The fear of losing it is a reaction to the fact that it has transformed into integral parts of who we are and have become a comfort zone.
Attachments and comfort zones are two different things but it is connected.
It is challenging to discern the danger it pose to our lives when we are in the middle of it.
Only when we break free from an attachment or manage to leave our comfort zone do we perceive how much it was weighing us down.
The tricky thing about attachments and comfort zones is that we often don’t realise when or how we began to be involved in it in the first place.
The only thing we begin to sense as we get attached is our discontentment and dissatisfaction.
That is when we question our unhealthy track.
Attachment might indeed be the root cause of our psychological issues such as:
When we are angry we are attached to our false sense of self, the I.
Whatever attacks it whether a person, a situation or a debate causes us to become enraged.
When we are worried we are attached to the outcome that we want.
When we don’t accept the loss of someone, something or any outcome life throws at us, we are attached to what we believe should be present in our lives.
When we are constantly discontented we could become attached to the idea of pain and a victim mentality.
When we always seek something pleasurable whether it is a person, drugs, alcohol or food we are attached to the emotions it stir in us.
When we attack others as a defence to our own ideologies, dogmas or ideas, we are attached to the identity it gives us.
When we are annoyed with someone, we are attached to how we want him to be.
And the list goes on and on.
In no time those attachments become a comfort zone which we can’t easily escape.
What is the cure for attachment?
Doesn’t detachment strip us from our most human qualities?
When Buddha spoke of the dangers of attachments, he also spoke about the cure.
There is an outstanding line in the Little Buddha movie that goes like this:
If the string is too tight, it will snap.
If it is too loose, it will not play.
In other words, the Middle Way is our shield against clinging to comfort zones.
The problem is not what we receive from the outside rather it is how we deal with what we receive.
Detachment doesn’t mean indifference, it means awareness.
When an emotion arises in the body we shouldn’t blindly feed it and we shouldn’t try to suppress it either.
When you feel attacked, pause for a moment and create space between you and your upcoming anger.
Transcend the furious reaction into an aware action.
When you are worried, observe the scenarios that your mind creates and understand that it stems from the fear of uncertainty.
When you don’t accept loss, pause and reflect on the lessons that you have gained and on the fleeting nature of things.
Although we can’t directly spot where attachment begins, we can tell at least that it starts when awareness is absent.
How do we shed light again on what has been long in the dark?
By being mindful of our actions, reactions and speech.
For instance during a trip I took few weeks back, I abruptly found myself stuck in a rut.
How could I tell?
I noticed that I went down to the same cafés, same restaurants, same corner to watch the sunset and the same hiking trail out of habit and not out of delight.
However when I began asking myself what I felt like doing and why, I automatically got myself out of my comfort zone and found myself in new places.
To be constantly aware seems like a tough task but what is truly tough is waking up from the delusions in our heads.
At least awareness keeps us anchored in the present moment which is far safer than the hazardous trails that our minds sometimes create.