I’ve been praying and setting my intention daily now for a while that I will be guided to detach from people, places, and things, so I can know and experience pure love and connection without the drug of attachment. This has been a life long process for me. Sometimes it’s a real struggle.
Attachment is like a drug or alcohol. It numbs us from processing our emotions fully. It numbs me from a fear of being alone even when on an intellectual level, I know how interconnected we all are. When I practice detaching personally, on a spiritual level, I know I’m not alone. Yet for me, practicing detachment is one of the hardest spiritual principles to follow and experience at times.
As I become more aware in each moment through my daily yoga and meditation practice, and take that awareness infused into each new experience, sometimes I am flooded with so many memories where I was attached to the people, places, and things in my life, thinking at the time, that without them in my life, I didn’t know who “I” was.
I was afraid to detach with love because I enjoyed not feeling the depths of pure love that at the time only showed up in lightning speed moments and passed so quickly that the thought of change (letting go of attachment and connecting to pure love) left me frozen in my attachment intoxication unable to process my emotions with clarity, and unable to really know how to love purely, that is – detach with love. I didn’t know how to handle the feeling of pure love and connection. I was scared because then I really had to deal with this “me” I didn’t really understand yet.
In other words, attachment was providing me with a false comfort destined to crumble my inner emotional house of sticks with the swiftest winds of change to suffer consequences of immense pain and suffering. I had to grow up – and that was scary stuff, even in my late twenties.
Don’t get me wrong, I had a lot of responsibility in my late twenties and I have always been very mature for my age. I worked full-time, paid my own way through college, and paid all my own bills. I was surviving and succeeding from the view of the outside world, but I was slowly withering inside. I was emotionally paralyzed and immature in a lot of ways. I kept attaching myself to people, places, and things so I didn’t have to feel and process my failures , my fears, and my shadows.
Attachment was like a drug for me. When I was attaching to people, places, and things, I was numbing myself not with a chemical altering drug, but through my perceived relationship to the person, place, or thing and consequently my perceived notions of “me”. At the time, right when the intoxicated high occurred, it felt amazing. I was on an attachment high. I was a great artist at making so much unreal, real.
Each time pain seeped in when I came down from my attachment high. If it was too much to bear, I wallowed in my attachment even further. But, from here, let’s investigate – what is attachment? And what does it mean to detach with love?
I define attachment as a psychological state wherein a person defines themselves in relation to other persons, things, or places (think of these as external sources) instead of in relation to our highest Self (think of these as internal sources) and through that identification the person is unable to process emotions with clarity, in essence, the attachment numbs them out and disconnects them from connecting to their highest Self. When we are in attachment mode, we may feel pain, but only temporarily. We are not fully processing our emotions in attachment mode, because the attachment high is numbing the full spectrum out.
When we detach from people, places, things, even ideas, we are defining ourselves in a transformative sense. Let’s put this in the context of what I have written about on subject/object relationships that the field of epistemology has helped us understand. When we look at something (object) instead of through it without a lens (subject) we evolve our mental complexity and we are able to detach from the object, and through the practices of yoga and meditation, we are able to detach from the object with love, and this is an important piece – pain.
When we detach with love, and pain, we are no longer defining ourselves in relation to the object, we have found a connection to our essence and become aware of the oneness of us as we are in relation to all things around us.
When we evolve our way of relationship dynamics to detaching with love and pain, we recognize a basic tenant of Buddhism has taught us – Dukkha (suffering) – that suffering does exist. This is by no fault or mistake of others, it’s a universal and collective reality – that there is suffering. And, as we evolve, to understand the depths of our paradoxical being and constructs of meaning, we learn that there is love in suffering, but this understanding takes a shift of perspectives or a change in our mental complexity.
Instead of numbing with attachment to people, places, things, and ideas through a deep intentional breath practice, also known as meditation/prayer/yoga, we learn to shift our perspective, process emotions fully, connect to our highest Self, and detach with love, and pain. We learn what our fears were telling us in our drugged out attachment mode – that instead of loving in attached drunkenness and intermittently feeling pain, we can love purely and truly, and feel pain at the same time, and feel an even deeper love, and in this stage of our development we find the grace of joy in each moment.
Om Shanti Om ~ Athea