“Attachment is the great fabricator of illusions; reality can be attained only by someone who is detached.” Simone Weil
Attachment is no more than a safety blanket to overcome fear—fear of change and of the unknown from that change. To cope with that fear, all attachments become distractions.
Attachment is basically your emotional dependence on things and people that define your identity, around which you wrap your so called “happiness” and even your survival. Attachment is holding on to anything that you are unwilling to let go of, whether it is something positive or negative.
We are living in a world with many problems that confront us in our everyday life, and many of these are not only unavoidable but also insoluble. To overcome these daily challenges, many of us just turn to attachment as a means of distracting ourselves from facing our problems head on, or adapting and changing ourselves in an ever-changing environment. All of our struggles in life, from anxiety to frustrations, from anger to sadness, from grief to worry—they all stem from the same thing: our attachment to how we want things to be, rather than relaxing into accepting and embracing whatever that might happen after we have put forth our best effort.
Attachment is the source of human miseries. Worse, attachment may come in many different forms that we are unaware of.
Your career may span over decades, involving many ups and downs, such as promotion and unemployment, changes of career and pursuits of higher qualifications, among others. They may have become your problematic attachments.
Money and wealth attachments
Money plays a major role in life. You need money for almost everything in life. In the past, people could enjoy the blessings of life without spending too much real money. Nowadays, to many people, enjoyment of life requires money—and lots of it—and you may be one of them. Attachment to money and the riches of the material world is often a result of an inflated ego-self. You may want to keep up with the Joneses—driving a more expensive car than your neighbors and friends.
Living has to do with people, involving agreements and disagreements, often resulting in mixed emotional feelings of joy and sorrow, contentment and regret, among others, and they become attachments to the ego-self as memories that you may refuse to let go of—forgetting and forgiving, for example, are hurdles often difficult to overcome.
Success and failure attachments
Success in life often becomes an attachment in the form of expectation that it will continue, bringing more success. Failure, on the other hand, may generate disappointment and regret—an emotional attachment often difficult to let go of.
Adversity and prosperity attachments
In the course of human life, loss and bereavement are as inevitable as death. Loss can be physical, material, and even spiritual, such as loss of hope and purpose. You may want to attach to the good old days, and refuse to let go of the current adversity. Adversity and prosperity attachments stem from the ego-self.
Time is a leveler of mankind: we all have only 24 hours a day, no more and no less, although the lifespan of each individual varies. Attachment to time is the reluctance to let go of time passing away, as well as the vain attempt to fully utilize every moment of time, leading to a compulsive mind and over-doing.
Sometimes we are so busy in the outside world that we seldom have an opportunity to look inside of ourselves, to understand who we really are and what really makes us happy—probably not the material things around us. Imagine you are all alone in a room with nothing, except a pen and a piece of paper. Surprisingly, you may become creative and even happy, with nothing there to worry about, and nothing there to distract your mind.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau