In my last column, I talked about self-reflection. One can reflect on any nature of things; even on aspects such as attachment and the nature of attachment. Does attachment serve a person well? Or does it prevent one from attaining true benefits?
Attachment can appear to be natural. Indeed, we tend to gravitate towards people, memories, or things that bring pleasure to us. And avoid if they cause pain. At the core of human personality thus, lie two governing patterns: attachment and aversion.
These two really get down to one, attachment, because aversion is nothing but negative attachment; how often do we catch ourselves thinking or talking about a person we dislike? Or get emotionally disturbed by the trigger of an unpleasant experience? These happen because the consciousness is still adversely attached to the unpleasant event or a person.
In Yoga Sutras of Maharishi Patanjali, attachment or ‘raag’ is stated as an affliction. Affliction or klesha is disturbance of one’s inner peace, an off-balance state of affairs, opposite from the natural state. What is one’s natural state? Peace, harmony and flow.
Attachment is clinging. One can cling to people, relationships, routine affairs, material objects like money, land, home, car or places, memories and thoughts. In attachment (also in averse-attachment) one is not free, rather tied energetically to objects. The tie-up stops one from actualising enlightenment or simply put, seeing one’s own light.
Attachment leads to stagnancy and can literally stall your growth and life goals. Why do you think fear, anxiety and doubts exist in us? It is familiar because lifetime after lifetime, we have operated from this lower consciousness. To break the loop, one has to rise above attachments, to be able to honestly say: “I live in freedom, feel fulfilled and will exit/die so.”
A lot of energy is expended in maintaining and sustaining attachments, whatever the kind. This can be chronically draining.
Attachment leads to expectations. When expectations are not fulfilled, disappointment follows. Disappointment leads to all kinds of mental and emotional disturbances, also physical.
We create these obstacles for ourselves, by being attached to someone or something to such an extent that we start clinging to outcomes; such as, demanding apology or seeking appreciation, or material gifts etc. Thus, begin sufferings; disappointment, uprootedness, betrayal, anger, etc. These afflict the soul, creates karmic imbalance.
How to detach?
So, how does one rise above attachment-afflictions? The Yoga Sutra wisdom prescribes living with detachment or ‘vairagya’.
This detachment is not indifference, rather a shift in consciousness to operate from core human values, the dharma, by rising above ignorance and taking actions that nourishes the soul and not the cloak of the soul which is the body, the outer personality.
Detachment is doing duties from the space of unconditionality, where outcome is not the desire. Expectation is the child of condition-based living. In reflection, you’d notice that most of the human conduct are conditional. Conditionality begets attachment and outcome- expectations; thus, suffering ensues because the soul feels stagnant, caged. When we say, think or feel, for instance:
“I did or do so much for him/her, but…”. “I/we sacrificed for you, and ….”. “Whatever happens, I won’t leave this house, place or…”.
These are stuck energies.
A detached conduct emanates from the vibration of good intention, purity and forgiveness. This takes practice and therefore, a constant self-reflection and reflection on nature of things, is advised.
1. What are your attachments (emotions, addictions, thoughts)? How have your attachments served you until now and how will they serve you in the future?
2. Visualise a lotus flower. Reflect how it’s petals and leaves are clean despite living in muddy waters. Meditate on it and absorb the teachings of detachment from the reflective mind.
Disclaimer: Urmila Rao is a healer and a forgiveness teacher. All the ideas expressed herein are her own and not professional advice or medical prescription. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org