In society, we define attachment as “a feeling that binds one to a person, thing, cause, ideal, or the like; devotion; regard.” In psychology it is defined as “a deep and enduring emotional bond that connects one person to another across time and space.” Those definitions sound positive and desirable.
In spirituality, attachment has a different view. That “binding emotional feeling” could potentially be a trauma, when the receiver of such affection is no longer there or there is the danger that it may not be there anymore. Great emotional suffering is experienced by the unaware individual which could even affect his mental health.
There is nothing wrong with bonding with individuals or to have devotion to certain ideals or things as long as we remain stable, centered. Most will lose their stability when their object of attachment is not there anymore.
Spirituality observes the potential trauma of that experience and that is what this article will explore.
Life IS change. We know that intellectually. Practically, we may not.
What is attachment? In general, when an emotional need arises. This need has the power to be a trauma in our lives.
What is a trauma? When our beliefs, ideas and ideals are in conflict with what IS. That conflict is an internal rejection which is emotionally stored mostly in our subconscious, and giving us a view of Life with a biased perspective. In this way, the past, what happened IS still part of our present even though the past is gone.
We have attachments to ideas, beliefs, ideals. We have attachment to situations, circumstances. When someone close to us goes away, our circumstance will change. When we say that we are attached to someone, we are attached to the feeling of need being temporarily fulfilled by someone.
To be able to feel attachment in variable degrees of neediness, will allow us to feel it, which is very important to practically “know” attachment.
There is attachment to what we consider “self” and the sensations that this will bring. For instance, if I am an avid swimmer and I cannot swim for whatever reason, then the sensations of not being able to swim will be bothersome. If this need becomes emotional, then we may say that we are attached to swimming; but in reality, we are attached to the sensation that it brings. It is not the exercise itself bringing “addiction” but the sensation it leaves, which is very subjective.
Attachments will not allow us to become a witness of Life. Without witnessing Life, we cannot experience freedom.
How to deal with attachment?
In our society, attachments are expected and supported. They are “normal.” We may need to forget stereotypes or conditioned moral teachings to look and find attachments in our own lives. That is what takes more involvement from a seeker.
Very few will do that and recognize attachments as potential traumas.
Therefore, for the few who may be ready, here goes my “recipe:”
First and foremost, to OBSERVE that (whatever it is we find as attachment) in ourselves. To be able to see it there, without any masks or pretty words to hide it, without any judgment. Many times we may realize those after the fact, when we recall the experience after some time.
Second, to OBSERVE it in action. Life will bring a particular episode and we will react to it. Catch it there. It is important to FEEL it. Just to use words to make sense of it; will not allow us to truly see. Remember that the important item is how we FEEL in front of some Life episode. It is that feeling alone the one that brings the sensation of need, of being unable to be without. That is attachment.
Third and last, a deep feeling of the following fact of Life:
Life is change. Life is unpredictable. Life is temporary. Life is unexpected. Thus, it is impossible to possess something. Everything goes away. Do we see this as a fact?
Then it follows that everything; every experience, every person who crosses our path, every possession is borrowed from Life. The reality of impermanence is there, despite any social laws or rights which may bring us a sense of security.
Note that I am not inferring that a spiritual person must not possess things to avoid suffering. That is an infantile understanding which interestingly, many religious faiths will follow.
I am saying that while having things, experiences, circumstances, beliefs, ideas, etc. know that we are “borrowing” them. Life is leasing us something for a temporary time. That could be a wonderful wife/husband, a great job, our excellent health, etc. It is all “leased” to us for a temporary period. Those things are meant to eventually go away. We should keep that in mind, for it is a fact of Life. This is not meant to bring worry or despair. A tourist travels around. He is not meant to stay in a particular place. The same is with us. The joy of being a tourist is the freedom to travel, to know and try new things and that means to stay in continuous movement, in change. Just like Life. The important thing is to keep the stable center within.
With the understanding of the above, then we will pay attention to the intention of using the word “Mine.” In society we may need to use that word to deal with people, but know deep inside that we meant “leased,” “borrowed.” This sense of FEELING how everything is borrowed, will open the door to the witness. The one who doesn’t need to choose in Life, for everything whether coming or going; is meant to be appreciated as it IS. A witness is the ultimate way to appreciate Life.
Go left or go right. We will get to the same place eventually. Life is not a race. There is no prize or destination. It is a journey.
Therefore, appreciate the trip.
When attachment decreases, for sure our emotional stability increases.
Will resume writing on April 30th. Enjoy! 🙂
To discover soul consciousness is to experience it. Taste it!
I could write a “recipe” of things that I “should be” by being soul conscious.
The typical recipe includes:
Half a spoon of Sweetness, 1 full spoon of being loving, 3 or 4 leaves of detachment, a sprinkle of salty caring, half a glass of oily merciful-ness, and 3 tea spoons of giving without taking. Presto!
All of that is just a ‘belief’ of what soul consciousness is, based on the experiences of certain qualities which we have observed on others or the self.
That “recipe” of “nice words,” will define our own experience. In other words, until, I do not “get that,” I will not think that I am experiencing soul consciousness.
In the quest of soul consciousness, many will start with “acting.”
Let me copy the well known cooking chef that I see on TV and everyone likes. Let me act “loving, sweet, detached, etc.” That is, come up with my “own flavor” of “soul consciousness.”
All is good until a real “test” arrives in my life. That is the end of the cooking show. 😦
Because I have acted, I will not be able to contain my own emotions or thoughts, when someone “pushes my buttons.” Acting does not change sanskaras.
Back to “normal.” Time to feel disappointed, guilty, etc.
If we hear: “You must not cry under any circumstances.” Then, we believe that this is “soul consciousness,” and I start “acting.”
When “bad news” arrive. I will suppress my desire to cry; to shed a couple of tears and then tell to myself and others, proudly that “I passed the test.”
Wrong. You thought you did.
You just acted tough and made yourself believe that.
In soul consciousness there is the experience of the manifestation of the soul, the being. There is stability of stage, which comes in feeling fulfillment while experiencing the true self.
Meditation could bring this state, but also walking while in consciousness of that which is beyond the senses (to put a name) or while sitting and watching my thoughts fly by and become aware of the “timeless,” “a-temporal” state between thoughts.
That is what gives the sense of “being.” That state brings changes in the self automatically.
Greater experience of this state means greater transformation of sanskaras, because our emotions and thoughts are naturally stopped by the overwhelming presence of fulfillment, of being complete, of not needing a thing.
That is emptiness of thoughts and “mind noise,” that is sheer awareness without any effort.
Then, love, sweetness, mercy, etc. are no longer “pretty words,” but living experiences.
The dish recipe is valuable if there is constant nourishment in that tasting experience.
Bon Appetit! 🙂
Thank you for your question! 🙂
Consciousness is being “awake.” = ‘Conscious.’
Ego appears when we are asleep, unconscious.
Consciousness is soul consciousness
ego is body consciousness.
Being eternal is an awareness of being conscious.
Being time constrained is unconsciousness, ego.
Consciousness is “being” in the moment. Present. Now.
Ego is living in the past or future, acting.
“I am” because I am conscious.
‘i think my thoughts” because there is ego.
Consciousness/awareness brings stability in my stage.
Ego brings “ups and downs.” Sorrow.