Attachment and Clinging


     We are sometimes  told that we need to avoid attachment to things. That the idea and action of attaching is somehow causing us to suffer. I would like to suggest a slightly different take on this idea.
     One dictionary defines the word attachment a few different ways. One way is in the sense of an extension or appendage. I think perhaps this is the type of attachment that is referred too when we are saying that we don’t want to become attached. If we become attached in this way what we find is that, sooner or later, this attachment will come to an end with the result of suffering. It is though a very integral part of us goes missing. When we look at transience we see that this type of attachment isn’t particularly skillful and sets us up for suffering in the future. People, places, and things are not appendages or extensions of our being. In the romantic sense we often see it that way.  I have heard people talk of other people as appendages, a better half, or an item they enjoy as an extension of themselves.
     However there is another definition of attachment that I think has a wise and compassionate grounding. That is closeness or bond. Think of all the people, places, and things that you are attached too using this definition. In this mode of attachment we are attached in awareness that all attachment is transitional. It is what I refer to as a Bittersweet attachment. There will both happiness and sadness coexisting with each other during the period of attachment. We experience the joy of having something while at the same time see that we are destined to let go. 
     What I have noticed in the past is that taking the “ideal” position that is often posited by a belief system automatically takes you away from the middle ground. It throws us into a dichotomy that is hard to see. There is not a place where attachment doesn’t exist as a process.  Only egocentric self thinking can believe that it can achieve a place of total non-attachment. For the egocentric mind there is the added benefit of being the  total focus via suffering while on a fruitless search. Egocentric self does anything to remain the center of the universe. 
      Can we attach and become close to things with a bittersweet sense of transience? Can we experience the joy and sadness of the temporary relationship with all things? Perhaps this is a different perspective on the idea that two become one. Bittersweet awareness. 

I believe we can. What do you believe? 

As Always feedback is greatly appreciated.

Bryan Wagner



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