Understanding Attachment and Affectionate Detachment

If we think about something frequently it means we're attached to it. Attraction is positive attachment; aversion is negative attachment. If we can stay in the present, do what's presented to us, use Gurudeva's tools and affirmations, we're then in the current flowing with the river of life. Lean on your own spine but then radiate affection, love and compassion to everyone from that position. Master Course, Merging with Siva, The River, a Symbol of Life, Lesson 22.

Unedited Transcript:

Good morning.

Following through on what we mentioned on last Sun 1 Homa about attachment. Remember the idea that normally when we think of attachment we think of something we like too much. I'm overly attached to coffee in the morning; I'm attached to sweets.

But attachment really applies to anything that we think about a lot, be it positive or negative. So some of those fondest attachments are actually negative attachments. Attachments to events that shouldn't have happened, right? A whole list of those. My parents shouldn't have done this and my spouse shouldn't have that and my kid definitely shouldn't have done this. We have a whole list.

So, if we think about something frequently it means we're attached to it. It's simple way of seeing our attachments, that which we think about frequently means we have an attachment.

So, I pulled a few thoughts from Patanjali's Yoga Sutras.

"The yoga of action is comprised of austerity, scriptural study and devotion to Ishvara.

"This yoga has the purpose of achieving samadhi and lessening the causes of affliction.

"The causes of affliction are ignorance, identification with the ego, attraction, aversion, and clinging to life."

So the two words we want are attraction and aversion. The rest we can pick up another day. So these are two of the causes of affliction or bondage. What keeps us from realizing our inner identity with Siva's all pervading consciousness.

So, attraction is another word for positive attachment. Aversion is another word for negative attachment.

He defines both.

"Attraction is that which follows the remembrance of pleasure."

That's easy.

"Aversion is that which follows remembrance of suffering."

So, that's the idea. The remembrance or the thinking about that I was mentioning. You know if we think about something, if we remember it much more than other things that means we have an attachment. Gurudeva develops this quite nicely in the Merging with Siva, River of Life chapter. So I took a few quotes from that. The first paragraph here is explaining what we get attached to.

"What stops you from flowing with cosmic forces and becoming one with life's ocean of eternal bliss? Is it not attachment that keeps us clinging to the bank of the river? Is it not fear that we are attached to? All of the personalities we know and the various material objects we are clinging to keep us holding tightly to the banks of life's cosmic river. The river still flows on, but we do not flow with it. We are fighting against life's currents when we allow ourselves to become attached.

"Think today about the personal experiences in your lifetime and clearly view just how often you cling to the banks of life's river by attaching yourself to personalities and possessions. Have you ever stopped to think that we even become attached to things that we do not like (Sound familiar, aversion.) and to the things that we have done against our better judgment? (Another type of aversion.) We are attached to objects, values, schedules, habits, memories, even likes and dislikes. We become attached because we do not stop to understand that each of these experiences that conceived the attachment was just a boulder, a waterfall or an old tree trunk blocking one of the little rivulets as it tried to merge with the great stream ever merging into the ocean. Meditate on a river. Follow it as a visual image from its source to the end where it merges into the sea. You can now clearly see where you have been clinging to the bank of life's river. You will plainly see just how long you have been clinging to various attachments by holding on to fears, worries, doubts of the future and regrets about the past. Looking at attachment, we see how it holds the mind down, how it submerges personality. Attachment is a stationary thing. Attachment creates the personality. "

The river analogy is very helpful cause the river keeps going, right? Just keeps going all the way from the top of the mountain down to the ocean, in our case. Have a real one out there to look at.

If we can stay in the present and do what is presented to us in it's fullness, then we're, we're in the current. You know we're flowing along with the water. But sometimes we panic, you know. We get fearful of what we need to do. So we're, then we cling to the side and we stop moving forward. Or, we get depressed by remembering things about the past and therefore, we don't even try to get in the current. We're just sitting there thinking about the past. So, worries about the future or concerns about the past, we pull ourselves out of the current. We say: No, I can't flow with the river I have to do this other thing instead.

So, if we do that, we cling to the banks and whatever the cause, then we're not flowing with the river. We're not making the spiritual progress we could. We're not moving ahead fully in our karma and dharma because of attachment. So, that's the beautiful sense of that analogy of the river.

So, nothing wrong with attachment but we want to try and overcome it is the point. If we find ourselves fearful about something, you know, what tool can we use of Gurudeva's to help us overcome that fear. Or affirmation is a good one. Use an affirmation and get rid of it that way and then get back in the current as quickly as possible and keep flowing on toward the ocean.

So the next paragraph is a very important point on "affectionate detachment." Combination of two words which usually don't go together.

"The popular concept of the intellect at this point would be to say, 'Well, then, according to this, we are not supposed to be attached to anything, or even have a personality.' But I take this one step farther and tell you, become affectionately detached, for by becoming affectionately detached you absorb all the power of the spiritual force within you. When you absorb the power of the spirit through the body, you will be able to feel it flowing through your most subtle nerves. This vibrant spiritual force within you, vibrating through every cell of your body, quieting the emotions and bringing the mind into effortless concentration, is born of affectionate detachment."

That's an important point is in striving to be detached we don't want to become ice cold. I'm detached! Nothing moves me! So that's not a mature understanding of the concept of being detached. I don't care what happens. I'm detached. No, we're supposed to care but without clinging. Idea for example of giving love to your spouse rather than depending on the spouse to give love to you. You're giving, you're taking the aggressive move and not clinging to someone else as your own refuge. You're being dynamic; you're leaning on your spine and sharing that energy that comes from the spine with others and facing life with it.

Affectionate detachment is another way of saying: Lean on your own spine. But, then radiate affection from that position.

"We still have those little attachments--the good ones, the need for love, acceptance and security. These attachments form the positive aspects of the subconscious. We want to free ourselves of all negative attachments, then use the subconscious positively, as a powerhouse directed by our superconsciousness. There is a great wisdom in cultivated affectionate detachment. Let go of the past. Let go of the future. Be a being right now. Being detached does not mean running away from life or being insensitive. It makes us extremely sensitive. When we have the ability to let go, we are warmer, more friendly, more wholesome, more human and closer to our family and friends."

So that's the idea I was explaining. That idea of being in the spine and from that position radiating out compassion and love and all to everyone. And not just kind of be clinging to others that give it to you.

That's a good place to stop.

Have a wonderful phase.