Are you aware of the attachments that keep you bound to suffering in the world?
Can you identify why you have them, and what they reveal about your deeper conditionings, perceptions, and sense of ego-identity in relationship to others and the world?
How can being aware of your attachments, and choosing to become free from them, support you to create greater mastery of your ego-sense-of-self (which creates a false sense of reality steeped in erroneous misinterpretations and misunderstandings of the world and “others”)? And how does mastery of this illusion support you to develop stronger connection with your True, unbounded, Self that can clearly see the greater Reality with discernment and nonattachment to fleeting things/changing forms/experiences, which supports you to live in greater freedom and joy?
Some of us may have just needed one (and some unfortunate souls may have needed more than one) strong dose of toxic romantic-“love” bonding–that chemical cocktail of hormonal attachment to a maladjusted/dysregulated or narcissistic person that slowly poisons us and our lives and inevitably ends in severe suffering with eventual separation when we are smart enough to rekindle greater love for ourselves and walk away–to know the pitfalls of destructive attachments.
Outside of any family and or friend bonds that we may have been born into and accumulated in life and may or may not have developed strong enough attachments to truly suffer from when there is eventual loss–through death or otherwise–a divorce or romantic separation after one develops strong attachment (and future mental commitments) to another person (especially one who deeply “wounds” us) can provide great insight into the nuances of how we can get trapped in suffering via attachment in the world.
While some people will go through the drama of bondage and attachment to “obviously” destructive things that lead to suffering in their life, body, mind and so forth, getting bound by money, sex, shopping, eating, overindulgence in toxic levels of addictive drugs, alcohol, and so forth, beyond these “obvious” objects, most will never even realize that they are bound by destructive attachments due to the normalization of their bondage. Most people, because of the socially acceptable nature of most binding and destructive attachments, that their lusting after things that have slowly-manifesting karmas is “mild” in comparison to obvious examples. Blind-hatreds, intense emotions, commoditized pleasure-seeking/escapism, consuming unhealthy/unnecessary foods, tying one’s senses of identity/perceived value to body-minds and object accumulation, and so forth, are attachments that go unchecked and tolerated until they reach a tipping point of no-return from the inevitable creation of suffering due to the destructive nature of attachments and the patterns that they follow. No matter what your attachments are, the essence of how they create destruction in your life is always the same.
What Are Attachments
Attachments are a consequence of the state of consciousness that occurs when separation from the Reality of one’s eternal wholeness, connection, and completion occurs. It is when one (being born into physical experience), in ignorance and the confusion of ignorance (connected to being identified with an ego-body-mind as self tied to sensory perception), substitutes fleeting experiences, objects, people and so forth, in the world, for the Absolute inner fulfillment of connection to the Truth and Absolute Reality grounded in oneness and the eternal Love and satisfaction of sheer existence/being itself.
Attachments arise when one is disconnected from his/her True nature and Self, and looks to worldly objects and illusions to fill the spaces of what he/she feels is “missing,” which makes that person dependent on external objects for a sense of balance, happiness, and/or a sense of “completion.”
Or, as Patanjali put it, “[a]ttachment is that which follows identification with pleasurable experiences” (Sutra 2.7).
How Destructive Attachments Are Formed
All attachments initially arise out of a basic impulse to regulate, balance, or satiate a body-mind-ego urge, appetite, craving, and/or desire within people, groups, communities, and/or societies. Urges, appetites, cravings, and desires all arise from feeling/sensing “imbalance” (which is disconnection from one’s eternally balanced/True nature) of some sort.
When one feels dysregulated by a feeling of discomfort, hunger, thirst, lack, and so forth (which are straightforward to fulfill), and seeks relief from this discomfort or dysregulation, for example, or when a person is compelled by a biological desire for companionship (which arises from a deeper desire to be more connected back to/with one Self, apparent or unapparent), or is compelled by an ideology, conditioning, or fantasy that he/she “needs” to validate to make sense of his/her existence in the world (because of feeling disconnected from the greater Reality), that person will take action to create balance and give him/herself what he/she feels he/she wants/needs to create inner harmony/peace.
This is normal and how survival, and anything else in life, gets accomplished in the first place.
Issues only arise when the “solution” (in the form of people, places, actions, thoughts, feelings, things, and so forth) applied to any given dysregulation/feeling of lack is not fitting/suitable, or effectively applied, as a means for truly addressing the “need” that one has to fulfill. The greater “need” behind all needs/desires is always connection back to the Self and one’s infinite source of abundance and wholeness. But, in ignorance and worldly confusion, humans continually attach their feelings of “something is missing” to their body-minds and egos since this is the tool that they have overidentified with to navigate through experience in the world, which they have, in error, come to see as the absolute that exits (even though they know, for example, that they are floating around in a galaxy in space, in a universe, as one small part of existence, humans still take their limited experience and small world around them as the ultimate).
So, instead of fixing the desire that needs satiating in any given situation by coming into greater connection and balance within, humans, instead, create an illusion of gaining external fulfillment via the triggering of temporary good-feeling hormone bursts through external objects. This use of external objects to create internal balance, whether it comes in the form of a relationship or ice cream, creates dependence, especially as the effect of hormone bursts become less effective from initial dosages over time and people will then “need” unsustainably greater and greater frequencies/intensities of these objects to sustain the illusion of any gained “balance” that they achieve. $100,000, for example, can solve most people’s money “needs,” but if one is dependent, not even one billion dollars can do it; those zeros and ones have got a given person hooked, and they may do just about anything, including destroying the world and others, to satisfy their greed/craving.
Human Complexity Makes The Issue Even More Complex
Plants need water, for example, to stay alive. But, different plants require different levels of water to thrive. You would not give a cactus the same amount, or frequency, of water as you would an oak tree, in the same way that you would not give a human baby the same meal as a grown man.
If you give any plant too much or too little water, or give them the the wrong mixture of nutrient in their water, they will suffer and die–regardless of whether water or nutrients might be good or beneficial for another plant (or them) in general.
If humans were more similar to plants (in their straightforward “simplicity”), and/or if humans possessed more awareness, self-awareness, and knowledge of how to balance their body-mind-egos and connect back to the source that they feel disconnected from, which is what creates a sense of need or desire for more beyond basic growth and expansion in the first place, they would be able to effectively identify when the solution applied to their situation of “need,” or “want” works or does not work for them at any given moment, and/or (ultimately) long-term.
But, because humans are not plants, and their “needs” are even more complex than their photosynthesizing cousins due to the nature of their body-minds and existence, (and they possess the ability to misperceive reality by forming the wrong connections in their brains individually and collectively), oftentimes, mistakes are made more often than not when solutions are formulated for individuals, who exist within the realm of social worlds that are guided by the pressures of operating within proposed, created, available, accepted, conditioned, and other conditions for addressing vastly different individual needs/personal realities. Pair this with the realities of the constituents of nature, called the Gunas influencing all things at all times, and it becomes even more important that neutral awareness is maintained when addressing any given person(a)/situation.
Attachments form when, in ignorance, one attempts to apply the wrong solution to a problem, and becomes chemically confused due to the nature of human reward-seeking brain operating in the socialized, and socially influenced, world. Karmas– thoughts words, and actions-that reinforce easily accessible worldly solutions that create addicting/fleeting reward responses in human brains that are convinced that “feeling good” is the solution, or should be the “goal” when not experienced, keeps humans stuck in bondage to pleasure-seeking and suffering in the world, as opposed to solving the core of their individual issues (which is always internal connection and balance).
To give a “simple” example: If you meet someone and you trigger certain chemical cocktails of good feelings around them (based on your pre-existing desires, predispositions, conditioning about relationships, etc), associating your good feelings not with your brain’s generating these feelings, but with the person who you are projecting them onto, you may spend extended amounts of time with that person and maybe even make long-term commitments to them (thinking that you are securing future good feelings together). You may also make illogical sacrifices and excuses for them as well even when logic and common sense presents you with a million “red flags” that would indicate (in normal situations) that this is not a good idea.
When you discover that your idealized person is “not good for you” or your life, and you begin to feel painful feelings more consistently than good ones in relationship to their behaviors/treatment (especially if they were in a “love-bombing” situation with a narcissist that ends quickly after you are “trapped” in a relationship), you may then, in ignorance, make bigger excuses and create greater force mentally and otherwise to keep the good feelings with that person in your life. A mixture of conditioning and hormonal attachment convinces your socialized brain, that may have created networks of attachment to said person (through the “life” that you created together), that you need to work things out, or to work harder with/for them, because they are the love that you are supposed to grow with. This is pure ignorance, of course, based on all evidence in reality that is clear to see when fleeting endorphin fires whittle down to damp smoky embers that stifle the air around you and make it impossible to breathe freely and healthily.
Though there may certainly be healthy romantic possibilities available for you in the world, that person who you grew an attachment to is clearly not “it,” or “the one,” no matter how “good” they may have initially made you feel when you met.
How Destructive Attachments Are Transcended
A solution exists to all of our problems and needs because our nature is to be fulfilled and to expand into greater connection with all that we are in relationship to the world, others, and all that is.
The key to note here, however, is that our true solutions always connect us back to our Self and create the inner balance that we need/want. So, while our solution of connection can also inspire actions in the world, that involve applying objects that are effectively used to support, deepen, and validate our balance and connection, objects alone applied without true awareness and understanding of what is actually needed/for how long, and in what dosage, or objects that are applied to soothe the discomfort and dissatisfaction that we feel (addressing symptoms instead of the core issue that we are facing) only creates attachment and suffering.
Not all objects that work for others may work for you, and not all objects that do not work for others will not work for you, and furthermore, all of your solutions to the problem of imbalance within the self do not always feel good. If you break your leg and have to snap it back into place for it to heal in alignment, for example, the sensations to do so will not be pleasant. Good feelings (ie. pleasure seeking and pain avoidance) are not a sign of whether things are “working out” in all situations (although this may be the case in some, like moving from a depression to happiness).
Simply put, solutions to any deficit or need that we may experience at any given moment as we expand into more of who we are through our pure desire to remain regulated in the world, solve problems, they do not create more problems. If the “solution” or “answer” to your desires, prayers, or needs are destructive and binding you more fully to your body-mind illusions and attachments in the world as opposed to your eternal connection to all that is and your True Self/nature, they are attachments and will lead to suffering as opposed to tools and supports that will lead to your liberation.
True Earthly and worldly Love, connected to others (romantically or otherwise) exists, for example, but it is only a reflection of a purer and Truer connection and Love that exists through your sheer being alive and connected to your True nature and Self.
What distinguishes a connection to a true solution, or Love, from a destructive attachment, is that your “solution,” in whatever form that it shows up in, liberates and elevates, it never binds or creates misery or dependence (although discomfort may be present as one moves to greater healing, growth, or transformation into something new, which is a natural part of life).
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