The One Mindset Technique You Will Need For Happiness
One of the most practical Buddhist teachings is the practice of non-attachment. Buddhists believe everything in this realm causes suffering and it is important to practice non-attachment so that one can attain liberation. The more we are attached to different things, the more we suffer. In this article, we are going to present this concept through psychological facts, and describe how it can affect our life’s quality.
What is attachment?
Attachment in its deepest form means grabbing and holding onto anything that gives us pleasure and comfort in some way. By default, we tend to be attached to people, things, and feelings and it is a part of us that comes with our mind’s nature.
The problem with attachment is that we tend to be attached in an unhealthy way and have absolutely no idea how deep it goes or how it impacts us.
Let’s look at one example of a secret attachment we might not even be aware of. Since we are social beings, we have a strong tendency to be a part of some group and belong to it. We want to have a large circle of good friends. However, the problem starts when we become miserable if our social aspect is unmet in a way we desire it to be (i.e. we have only a few acquaintances). The attachment to the need of having a large group of friends may unveil deeper problems we carry and are not aware of.
Why would this tendency be described as attachment? Because we are attached to the idea that having friends will make us happy. Can friends really be a source of our happiness? They can be our support and comfort, but if we desperately cling to them to fulfill our inner emptiness it becomes something else. Letting our friends exist in our lives without the need to own them or have them as an emptiness tranquilizer is a way to have inner satisfaction. And the bottom line is that having no friend isn’t a reason to be miserable. A reasonable adult with a developed sense of self is aware that happiness comes from within and not from the outside source. This kind of person is not attached to the idea of having or not having friends.
Attachment to the idea of what we think our lives should be like is the most subtle form of painful attachment we can have.
A person who is calm and centered, has lots of hobbies and enjoys their family and friends BUT does not cling to any of the concepts in their life is a kind of person we should all strive to be. This kind of person attaches to nothing and is perfectly willing to let go of the things and people when it is time for their departure.
In theory, this is a perfect person and very few individuals are able to become like that. So, what would be the path to it? Practicing non-attachment to anything that surrounds us.
This includes acknowledging that things and people are here only temporary and we cannot really own or stick to anything.
The final attachment that is the deepest and most painful is attachment to our own being. We are all impermanent and one day we will surely stop existing as human beings.
Non-attachment is a mental state where we acknowledge and accept the non-attachment with everything and everyone. It does not mean we can just give up on people we have responsibility for or our possessions and go live in a cave. The line between co-existing with material things and people as opposed to attaching to them in order to never be separated from them and make them a source of our happiness is very thin and we should always be aware of it.
1. Acknowledge your attachments:
Do a soul search to find all your attachments.
See clearly what attachments you have and toward what (one by one).
Discover how strong your attachments bind you to the objects of your attachments.
Observe how your attachments make you feel (I am afraid of losing this person / this possession. If I lose it, I will be miserable and unhappy).
Make sure you catch not only big attachments that are obvious right away but also those subtle, almost invisible attachments that bother you. An example would be an attachment to the need of always being right, desire to travel if you are currently unable to, a compulsive obsession to have things organized only the way you want, people to respond to your inner feelings when you need someone to comfort you but you don’t see that no one is able to read your mind… These are only a few of the sneaky attachments you can have problems with but are so deeply integrated into you that at first, you cannot notice them. That is why it is important to give this inner analysis time.
The recommended way to deal with this phase is to sit in peace where you won’t be disturbed. Once you have calmed down, examine each relationship you have and see what you expect from it – do you need your partner or your friends to fulfill you by doing things you expect them to or are you able to live your life in a way that doesn’t require others to fulfill your needs? Can you depart from gadgets like mobile phones, laptops, video games, or paid television programs for a certain period of time, or is it absolutely impossible to live without them? In that case, you have a strong attachment and it is time to start releasing it. Otherwise, you might find yourself like a drug addict, completely lost and unhappy if one of your attachment objects were gone forever.
2. Develop a mental attitude of mindfully releasing every attachment
Your attachments will show their painful side when you get in a situation they won’t act as you expect them to, or if they start vanquishing. That is why you need to start releasing your attachments with inner dialog toward them: “I release attachment to____”.
See in your mind’s eye how you actually release attachment you are working on and it drifts in the open space free from your grasping (you are releasing your attachment only, it is like a bond made of chains or ropes that goes away, not the person or a thing you are attached to).
3. Repeat non-attachment mental attitude again and again
The repetitive intention is going to make a change if done regularly. Once you start working on it regularly, you will see that your mind is going to become lighter and less burdened. So, make sure you are working on developing non-attachment mind on a daily basis.
The conclusion about developing non-attachment mind is to live with everything and everyone that is a part of our lives in a way that it won’t cause us distress in case it goes away. We can never be completely free of attachment but we can reduce the impact of our attachment significantly if we acknowledge attachments and mindfully decide to track them and keep them under control.