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?
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).
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.