Sunday, October 5, 2014

What is Attachment?

Neuroscientists now believe that attachment is such a primal need that there are networks of neurons in the brain dedicated to it, and the process of forming lasting bonds is powered in part by the hormone oxytocin.

We are attached with so many things. Places, People, Ideas, Events, Music, Experiences to name a few. As long as we are having access to these we do not generally acknowledge its presence or the experience, but as soon as we are not able to access it, the mind begins to do all kinds of things. We miss these things, we crave to get back the access, we become desperate at times, and a continued denial of access results in frustration, anger and all the negative emotions that leads to an unstable mind.

Most often people get overwhelmed by Nostalgia. The Good Old times torment everyone from time to time. Loosing the thing that we are attached to hurt us very badly. Is there a way out of this? or are we doomed to suffer the loss? A little investigation of the process of attachment helps.

Attachment is essentially attaching or adding something to our Self. When we buy a new mobile phone, we are essentially adding it to the notion of our self. It essentially has become a part of us. This is attachment. when the mobile phone falls down , we feel hurt because we feel its a part of us and hence the injury is translated as one's own injury. The more something hangs around with us, the more tightly bound it becomes. The more attached it gets. The more integrated it becomes with our Self. This explains the hurt and suffering one experiences upon the loss of the things that we are attached with.

Essentially, the objects of attachment has become part of an extended Self. Similar to the hand of a person, it has become an integral part. The degree of attachment simply relates to how much  easily replaceable the object is. If its a throwaway pen, then the degree of attachment is less. If it is a special edition artifact of some sort, then its more tightly bound, since a loss of it cannot be revoked. Also, the things we don't have a liking never get attached to us, since we never consider them as part of ourselves.

A little contemplation will confirm this behavior in all cases of our attachment with anything. Even ideas and thoughts can become attachments. So, the problem seems to be this wrong identification of these objects as part of our own self. Instead of making the impossible attempt of staying steady upon loss, if one were to understand and correct this mistaken identity, a loss can be handled better.

A deeper investigation reveals that even the body, the mind, the thoughts and ideas are not the Self. The Self is not connected with any of these. This mere thought is known as Detachment! Detachment does not mean renouncing anything physically. A steady knowledge of this absolute truth enables one to see everything as part of the illusion, and not assume false identity with them. This clarity and steadiness of the Truth liberates one from the suffering of loss of any kind and enables Joyful life.

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