The operating word here being excessive. Let me explain.
I once had a boyfriend who was a Buddhist. In the way he practiced his faith he somehow considered it very “unelighted” to be attached. Attached to the world, to material things and to girlfriends… As you can imagine I was less than thrilled about that.
For the time we were together, I felt like he always kept his distance and was only “half in”. That’s when I realized: to live life fully, to experience passion, connection and the intensity of life you have to attach yourself. it starts by you, the Soul, attaching itself to a physical body. You form bonds and attachments to your parents, your family and the people in your life. We get attached to cars, houses, pets, our material possessions, to ideas and even to certain ways of feeling. How often do we chase experiences just to feel “that” again – whatever “that” might be. We get attached to causes and goals. Sometimes we even get attached to misery. Love certainly comes with attachment. And I think that’s wonderful. It’s a way to be “all in”.
However, as everything in life changes, and nothing is permanent, we also have to learn to de-attach ourselves when the time comes. And that is the difficult part.
Relationships run it’s course, people die, children grow up and leave. We change jobs and houses. Falling asleep is an act of detachment. And of course, the ultimate surrendering comes when the body dies and the soul returns to whence it came and we leave everything behind. Suffering starts when we are not able to let go when we should. That’s when the excessive and obsessive attachment turns into our cross and a stumbling block.
So, you might jump to the same conclusion as my boyfriend did and say: better not to attach in the first place – then I don’t ever have to experience the pain of loss and letting go.
For me that is not a desirable way of living. I want the intensity, passion, connection and love in my life that comes with attachment.
I see it more as a question of my point of view and my identification.If I identify strongly with my material belongings, it will be difficult to let go of them. If your job completely defines who you are, loosing it will be devastating. If I feel only valuable as a human being when I have a partner, I will do everything to hold on to that relationship – no matter how toxic or unsatisfiying it might be. The more excessive the attachment the more difficult it is to let go and the more suffering there is when we ultimately have to.
So I, like many of you, am striving to become better at letting go, gracefully surrendering, always knowing what is true and permanent and what is not. Living as a soul.
Because the truth is: sometimes, I am also suffering too much.