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The Pain of Attachment

There is a tremendous amount of pain involved in attachment to things, people, places, ideas, beliefs etc. The attachment binds us and keeps us locked away from freedom. We think that everything we want will free us, but ask yourself how free you are if you need something to be OK. Feel into how much pain you have when you lose the thing, something doesn't go your way, or when someone challenges your beliefs. There are many different forms of attachments; some physical, some mental, some obvious, some more subtle. Our fears say we must hold on to be safe, but actually the more we let go, the better we feel. That does not mean we don't have things, people, or ideas in our lives, but the letting go is more about loosening the grip on them having to stay a certain way.


This is something I am contemplating as I feel my own pain related to my attachments. Occasionally some chains will break when the light of my awareness shines through, and then I will have some tastes of spacious freedom. Other times I feel really contracted and it feels as though parts of my body have a death grip on my attachments. I watch various emotions move through these spaces: sadness, grief, anger, fear, frustration. The truth that I recognize is this: I am more free feeling these difficult emotions than I am chasing the attachments.


The feeling of the emotions and letting them move through is what starts to break our chains. Bringing compassionate awareness and giving love to these wounded, innocent but confused parts softens the chains. Really all the chains want is freedom, they just haven't yet learned what that is like. When they know, they will let go. You're just walking the hurt parts of yourself home, as Ram Dass might say.


I know that we are really meant to be perfectly free. I know that this is how we can truly enjoy life without fear. I have a book on my bookshelf called Already Free, written by a Buddhist psychologist. That is our true nature: already free. It is just obscured by our chains.

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