Attachment and Letting Go!

” Its natural for us to experience intense emotional pain due to the link, the bond of love we have” said Liz on reading one of my blogs!

There is no denying that. But what is this attachment, why do we love someone or something? How can we accept  to let go of this attachment?

Gregory Mize, PhD, mental health advocate states ” we become attached to people and things because it serves a perceived need which, we think, if attained will complete us somehow”.

So who is getting attached and whose needs are being fulfilled and completed?

It’s the “I”, “Self” or “Ego” in each one of us which is seeking completion and fulfillment. Does it ever get completely satisfied? Does it ever feel it has attained everything?

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Our needs move up a hierarchy as Anthony Maslow stated in 1943, from the base of physiological through the need for security, love and belonging, esteem to reach self actualization at the top of the triangle. The more needs a person or thing satisfies from this hierarchy, the more valuable it becomes.

A mother provides for elements of our needs from the physiological, safety and love and belonging layers of the hierarchy! Perhaps at least in the earlier years of our life in case of the first two layers and throughout our life’s from the third step. The value most of us consciously or subconsciously place on this entity- our mother, is so great, that it leads to the strong bond and attachment.

The value of a thing, like money or possessions, which fulfills our need for security depends on individual perceptions. How much does an individual need to feel secure?

Trapped in this desire to satisfy our Ego’s needs, we move up the hierarchy and feel a false sense of an inflated self esteem, based on our possessions. Driven by materialistic media machination and sycophantic “friends” who massage our false Ego’s, we hanker after more and more. But then, the Ego is a bottomless pit, which we find, no amount of riches or material comforts fill completely. We feel a sense of emptiness inside. The slow decline of religion and spirituality has left us with no other avenues to help us come to terms with this conundrum.

It’s entirely up to us which entity, our family, our relations on the one hand or the material comforts and riches on the other we place a higher value on!

Coming round to the question of attachment, the more precious the entity in our opinion, the stronger the attachment, the harder it is to sever the bond, accept the loss and let go! When we have let go of an entity, accepted things as they are, trusting the universe implicitly we have attained heaven!. Perhaps that’s the moral of the parable ” It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Matt.19:24).

Buddha says “The reason that we experience suffering comes ultimately from our mind. According to Buddhism, our main mental problems or root delusions are: attachment, anger and ignorance.”

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Human relations do produce attachments, but it’s the perspective that needs to change from a clinging on to acceptance and letting go. Each and every religion, spiritual teaching, philosophy and psychological system prepares us to do that, through rituals and rites, funerary observances and prayer for the departed soul. Ultimately we all have to work on our psyche, find an inner strength and acceptance. We will deny reality, resent the situation and get angry, will stumble and fall, grope in the darkness, shed tears and will slip and slide back many times: till finally time will heal the wounds and we find acceptance!
A few days back my friend Chandrasekhar sent me a quote from Thitch Nhat Hahns book ” Old path and white clouds”-” It was autumn and the leaves were falling. I asked a tree whether it was not afraid of falling as it’s turn will come soon. The leaf replied, I have been on this tree for the whole of summer and worked hard to nourish the tree and much of me is in the tree”.
A timely reminder and an apt analogy. There are lessons to be learnt in nature if only we have eyes to see. Surely a sign of divinity in nature as it says in the Qur’an.

“Fabi-ayyi ala-i rabbikuma tukaththiban”

Then which of the favours
Of your Lord will ye deny?

If only we can become like the leaf and with great trust and faith let go, we can find peace and acceptance easier.

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One step forward, two back!

Grief is such a personal thing! Acceptance of loss is such a strange jigsaw. I had, I thought completed the puzzle, beautiful it looked. I was about to stow it away in the attic of my mind to gather dust unaware of the missing pieces and the dark gaps. A kindly counselor shone a torch and what I had thought was acceptance turned into attempts at hiding behind a facade. The wound had not filled, only a thin weak scar had formed over a festering sore. The foundation on which my acceptance had been built crumbled and landed with a thump on the lower floor of depression and despair, making me realise that there is much work to be done.

” Lost her three years ago” she said, perhaps rightly so.

What is death?

Isn’t it a being, relinquishing a vehicle, a cover, a body to step into a different dimension? We have neither seen this dimension, nor experienced it nor have a we got reliable consistent proof. But does the absence of proof mean non-existence?

It is rather rare and difficult to contact the departed. Skeptics would dismiss off hand any claims of mediums and seances. But is there a grain of truth in such claims?

Logical Positivism argues for acceptance only of observable facts as perceived by our five senses as the only positive evidence of proof. But do our feeble senses, despite our attempts to improve nature with marvelous technological advances, give us all the knowledge of everything out there?

” There are more things in the heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy”, says Shakespeare in Hamlet.

Recently driving to work, with melodious classical music on the radio, dreaming and fantasizing I was rudely brought to my senses when the brakes failed! Fortunately the brakes finally responded to the frantic pressure of my shaking foot, and the car rolled to halt without a mishap. Later a colleague on hearing this said that whenever she is in her car she feels the presence of her dad protecting her. Was my mother’s spirit looking out for me and saved me on the day? I believe she was!

Is it an irrational thought, a delusion?

At other times, meditating, especially at times of great mental turmoil, I have strongly felt the presence of my dad, who died 25 years ago, calming me, guiding me and showing me the way. My logical mind fights against this, pointing out that it is only my mind playing tricks on me. But how do I account for the peace I feel, the guidance I get?

I feel that the departed ones are not completely deleted but the echos of their presence are felt if only we can trust our intuition, feelings and emotions and not dismiss off hand our experiences. They have only stepped out of a vehicle to perhaps journey in another dimension.

Did I lose my mother three years ago?

Distance, physical and emotional, diminished communication and demands of work and my own family did certainly create a gulf and perhsps I did not make enough effort to bridge this gulf. So it is true that it was a partial if not a complete loss. Regrets now, are of no avail.

It’s better not to fall into this trap. It is rather hard if not impossible to connect with our loved ones after they have departed and are off on their own travels in unknown dimensions. However it’s not difficult to connect and strengthen our connections and communications while they are still alive. It’s easier when we are travelling in the same dimension than in parallel worlds.