Sunday, September 14, 2014

Reflection # 9 - Listing the Sources of Your Attachments

It may seem that with this post I am on a "Buddhism" kick.  I do find a lot of interesting things about Eastern Religions (as I do with Western ones) and as Albert Einstein admitted, as we progress as a society in science, math, philosophy and psychology, Buddhism seems to have the greatest chance of surviving.  I think that is mostly due to the fact that it started out as a non-mystical, non-theistic life philosophy and therefore many of its core ideas do not require a departure from rational thought or an expression of faith.  I have studied Buddhism now for at least 30 years, so this is no fad for me.

One of the main focal points for Buddhists is the ending of suffering, to include most importantly, our own personal suffering.  The Buddha, we are told, discovered that suffering comes from attachment to material things, social norms and cultural devices as well as personal expectations of ourselves and each other.  By stripping yourself of all attachments, you will end your own suffering and then be free to help reduce or end the suffering of other humans and sentient beings in general.

A few weeks ago, I did an exercise of personal reflection and wrote down the things that I am attached to.  I modified the scope of attachment to include broad categories or more of the things in my mind or thinking or socialization that drove the various attachments, not necessarily the material items (like a house, job, family, money) - rather I chose to try and work at a deeper more fundamental level.

Warning - Digression:  I like listing things and I like scratching things off of lists that are not base or fundamental enough.  I find that this practice helps me in many areas of my life.

Anyway, I would like to challenge you to make your own list.  Review it, contemplate it, refine it and see if, how and when the things on your list interfere with your happiness, success and overall feeling of peace and contentment. It is just a little homework, nothing to be afraid of.

Things that Drive My Attachments:

My Neurosis: narcissistic, anxious, depressed 
My Desires/Addictions: alcohol, sex, leisure time, food
Seeking Acceptance: wanting unconditional love, feeling insecure, wanting to be understood 
My Persona: tough, smart, funny, experienced
My Guilt: for past acts, both the significantly terrible and the minor transgressions
My Fear: of failure and the of not providing for myself and others, financially and emotionally 
Wanting to be unique: standout, different, “a character”, remembered, even mystical/other worldly
My Hatred: of the fact that things are imperfect Concept versus Reality (Weltschmerz)
My Career: control, money, sense of accomplishment
Wondering what people truly think of me, my behaviors and my intentions, beyond my “persona”

This list is VERY personal and a few people may think that I am over sharing here, however that is the power of writing these things down.  They are real, they are known by yourself and others and they do in fact have the power to inhibit your true sense of peace and happiness, especially if you can not or will not acknowledge them.

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