The juice of Emotions is very powerful, flowing through the exchange between minds, it is powerful enough for creation and destruction as well. Emotions are the most fundamental requirement even for any rudimentary task that we do. Every developed life form has some amount of Emotional Structure in them, but in humans, it is developed to a whole different level, unlike any other being.
This Emotional Structure starts building up from even before we learn to speak, as you may see how a newborn cry to tell if he is hungry or smiles when happy. It is this imprint of emotions in our memory since childhood that prepares us to do things in life. If you observe, for the same given situation, a hundred people will respond in a hundred different way depending upon what emotional data they carry within themselves.
Now this emotional structure within us extends itself in many different aspects, one such which we will discuss here is Attachment. Much has been said about attachment by different people at different times, the underlying principle being detachment. It means all they tell us is that attachment is bad, we should remain detached and all! But I am asking, is life even possible without being attached? Even a Vairagi(Recluse) is attached, he remains attached to the divine. It is not about being detached to everyone around you, it is about sensible attachment.
A few months ago, I was asked a rather curious question by a very brilliant colleague of mine. The question was about attachment and it is due to the question that the thought of writing about it came to my mind!
The question was like this: Once during a conversation with some of our mates, I heard you saying that you never get attached to people, and from what I have seen, it is true as well…why is it so? Is being attached to people a bad thing? It so happens that when we meet someone a few times, friendship eventually develops and later it often leads to expectations and all, what you have to say about it!
See, first, let us be very clear as to what not being attached means. Non-attachment is not isolation, it is not about setting boundaries between you and others rather it is about freedom from unnecessary entanglement. You can still be very much playful, you can still laugh and talk to people around you. It is just about using sense in social situations. Entanglement leads to expectations which eventually will lead to suffering. So, any attachment that makes you entangled is definitely bad, otherwise, if you have sense and necessary discernment, attachment is not bad at all rather it is only because of this attachment that life is happening, as you may see, a society can only be harmonious if there is little sense of attachment between its citizens, a country can only be prosperous if it’s citizen have a sense of brotherhood and an attachment to their nation, people in love have a deep sense of attachment that’s why they become a family.
When attachment hurts…
Whenever I browse social media, there are at least two posts where a teenager will be glorifying someone he/she met half a year ago who now became his/her best friend. They glorify them as “best friend forever”, “lifeline” etc., and here I am saying just about friendship, not a relationship. All this selection of words is due to the loneliness that they may be going through and are now craving for someone permanent in their life, even as a friend.
We are living in a time where most people have nuclear family and parents are busy with their work and even if they have some time they completely miss out the point of being a parent to a teenager. With all this, the present generation is left with no option but to fall into the trap of non-sensical attachment or else they won’t be glorifying just about anyone on social media, I do agree that some people are meant to be with you for a longer time but still don’t invest so much of your emotions into someone that it may become a hefty expense for you. As far as teenage is concerned, my view is that at some point parents have to act more as a consultant rather than being a father or a mother because teenagers are going through so many ups and downs at the age. They do need the necessary emotional support, if they don’t get it from parents they will look somewhere else.
Whenever attachment hurts, it is only because of the emotional investment that you did since the start of any bond. The hurt that you go through is an accumulation of all the experiences you had or of all that you expected from the person, which can be anyone, not necessarily a friend. Now this investment which has gone bad will definitely have ripple effects on your mind, this is entanglement. When our attachment takes the form of expectations and desires, we become entangled.
Getting a hold on attachments…
When you really are in control of yourself, attachments will never be an issue anymore, because the sense of “How much” becomes available to you. When we get attached to anyone, we have to keep this in mind that in the name of attachment our own identity does not gets lost anywhere. Once we get clear about ‘I’ and ‘not I’, any attachment will never become bondage rather it will pave way for the new freedom.
At last, my perspective is that you cannot do a thing without attachment- it can be with anything, not necessarily people. Only because there is some kind of attachment, a desire to do develops within you and it overcomes the inertia of non-doing.
As for detachment, it takes time to craft yourself in such a way that nothing sticks to you until you wish. People who are on the path of sadhana may develop this kind of control. This kind of mental stability is gained by being meditative, eventually, the mind will start getting free from different bondage and then it is all in your control.