Human beings… all of us have wings, though we do not suspect it because they are so tightly tied. We are not meant to stay on the ground and peck at crumbs of personal pleasure and profit. We are meant to soar– to give our time and love freely to everyone around us. That is the essence of spiritual growth, and the whole purpose of meditation and other spiritual practices is to free our minds and allow us to fly high. ~Eknath Easwaran
I recently read an article on attachment that opened my eyes. Eknath Easwaran says there are millions of things that act as ties for us as humans- the largest ones being personal possessions and activities. The essence of his message was that attachments are “things that claim our time and attention at the expense of those around us.” I always thought attachment had to do with the accumulation of things or being attached to an idea. Easwaran explains you can have very little, but still hold an attachment for one particular thing. It is not the amount of things that matters, but the hold those things have on you. It is basically about “being caught,” thinking about something over and over, taking away from the people that are right in front of you.
I started thinking about the things that snare me- perfectionism, am I good enough, something I said that I think sounded lame. These are the things that can catch in my brain and replay themselves over and over. Through the years I have learned that yoga can untangle these snares and allow my brain to find some respite. Finding my breath, moving slowly, my mind finds a quiet that cannot be replicated. The attachments to these thoughts slowly dissolve and I am able to hear the voices of those around me once again.
This is what catches me. It may be something else for you- a purse, a pair of shoes, your car (new or old), your belief system. The point is that attachment occurs the moment you continue to think about these things when you are in the presence of others, taking away from the time and energy you could share with them. Take some time to sit with the things that lead you away from the present moment. Easwaran suggests that we can break attachments by being mindful. When the mind begins to think about something for a disproportionate amount of time, go do something else. Spend time with family, friends, children. Do tasks you have been putting off. Practice deep breathing and yoga. Changing your thoughts, habits and patterns will break you free from your attachments. Sounds simple, right? Next time you get caught- try something different, do yoga, take energy away from your attachment and give it to something else. It may not free you completely, but you may find the ties slowly begin to loosen their hold.