Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

Tag: Attachment

12 Things You Cling To That Block Your Inner Peace

A guest post by Steve Waller.

Take a deep breath and try to hold it for as long as you can.

Go on… do it now.

The longer you go, the harder it becomes. Not only does it begin to hurt physically, you have to fight against your natural urge to release the breath; to let go.

A single breath, when held for too long, symbolizes one of the biggest psychological and spiritual challenges we face as beings of consciousness. It captures the desire almost all of us have to cling on to something for fear of losing it, even when it is to our own detriment.

In Buddhism, it’s known as upādāna which literally translates as fuel. This clinging is the fuel for dukkha, another Buddhist term that means suffering. So the more you cling to things, the more you fuel your own suffering.

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Are You Imprisoned by Attachment?

StrawberryCupWhen you buy or receive something new, don’t you notice how a sense of attachment comes right along?  It may not be so obvious at first, but it’s always there in the background quietly grinding away at you.

It all begins with “I like” or “I want”.  But once the immediate delight wears off, attachment inevitably gives rise to difficult emotions like worry, fear, concern, or anger as you feel the impulse to maintain or protect whatever you’ve gained.

Day in and day out, we are constantly imprisoned by attachment.  Yet we seldom notice that often it’s all these material possessions that are triggering our anxiety or fear.

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Is Attachment Destroying Your Happiness?

Although the word has a stark connotation, I think the general trend toward minimalism is a smart one.  You can indeed “be more with less.”

However, minimalism does not guarantee happiness.

As Gail Brenner from A Flourishing Life wisely said in her recent comment on this blog, “…it’s not stuff that is the problem, but our attachment to it. Attachments start with a sense of desire and lack.”

You may have less than 50 or 100 possessions and still be prone to attachment.  You may still suffer from worry about your possessions, however few you may have.

Attachment comes in many other guises too – to people, beliefs, emotions.

Reflection:  Is Attachment Destroying Your Happiness?

For our reflection this week, I’ve chosen the theme of attachment and one my favorite stories about the 17th century spiritual master Yukhok Chatralwa Choying Rangdrol.

“Chatralwa had a rather big, comfortable house with lots of sunlight, filled with religious objects and books.

One day a well-known lama called Rinchen Dargye visited him. After entering Chatralwa’s room, the lama kept looking around instead of sitting down. Chatralwa sharply asked him, “A-we! What did you lose?” The lama answered, ” I heard you are a Chatralwa, a hermit. But in fact, you have collected enough to be a rich man.”

Chatralwa replied, “Chatralwa means someone who has got rid of his or her emotional attachments to worldly materials or to life itself. It does not mean being poor and hankering for them, as many do.”

– from Masters of Meditation and Miracles by Tulku Thondop

I’m not suggesting giving free reign to consumption. Over-consumption is ruining our health, our peace of mind, and our planet.

But let’s take a deeper look into the root of the problem: attachment.

I invite you to take a moment to explore your own attachments today – to possessions, to people, to beliefs, to emotional states, to habits and patterns.  Do you find attachment giving rise to discontent and unhappiness? Let us know what you discover!

I’ll start off with one of my attachments.  I love books!  I love well-tuned information!  But I’m sensitive to the musty, mildew smell of older books.  Still, it’s hard to resist the urge to revisit one of my tried and true book friends, even though I know it’s not healthy for me.  It’s simply attachment rising up in one of its many forms, bring along its buddy – suffering.

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