REGARDING THE WARNING AGAINST FORMING ATTACHMENTS

Tracey Lin Miller

For

On the Path to Understanding

April 11, 2013

            The warnings of not forming attachments are prevalent in many teachings. There is good reason for this school of thought as it is believed that in developing these bonds we invite suffering into our lives. The reason for this is as follows:

  1. When we form attachments, we increase our suffering due to our response to the loss of the things we attach to.
  2. Attachments lead to compromising our honor and integrity when we are fearful of the outcome of that loss.

In the first instance, we often form attachments to family, friends, pets, or material goods and gains. When any of those become loss through death, estrangement, theft, or any other means that might be the cause for separation, we suffer the emotional reactions we have in response to these perceived losses.

Secondly, oftentimes we compromise our honor and integrity when we tell lies, cheat, kill or any other behavior which we deem appropriate to prevent the loss of the persons or things we hold in esteem due to our attachment. It is not the bond that is the problem, but our fear of loss.

War is a response to the perception that something we are attached to will be loss, i.e. freedom, life, property, etc.

The attachment to love has been the cause for many criminal acts and the sufferings normally associated with the loss of or feared loss of a love one when one might exhibit jealousy, envy, coveting and the like. Sometimes this drives us to act in a way that is an antithesis to the meaning of loving when we harm the loved one.

The greed associated with the attachment to money can drive one to a life of crime and all forms of immorality to ensure its acquisition.
In light of this concept of loyalties to and affinity for our attachments many of the reactions to this fear of loss can be seen in the onset of wars and other negative reaction to maintain the status quo. Our belief system that is rooted in the erroneous concept of things remaining constant is the fallacy which is the root cause of these negative reactions which embroils us in great suffering.
The same teachings that warn us against attachments also speak to us of the inconstancy of all things. If we accepted this later teaching and implanted it into our belief system, we would quickly understand that loss is inevitable and that resistance to change is at the least a foolish endeavor.  We might grieve, but we would not do everything in our power to try to prevent what we cannot; change.

By accepting the destiny of variance in our circumstances and bonds, we would be capable of maintaining our honor and integrity without compromise and upholding the greater value of the spiritual growth and potential that we must strive for.

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