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Thursday, January 2, 2020

Attachment, A Form of Addiction

Detachment has long been a spiritual practice in many religious expressions. When we are attached to something strongly, it rules us. Whether it is a point of view, a bad habit, or physical things, strong attachment reduces or even smothers our freedom. It stands in the way of spiritual awakening.

It has been suggested that it is a form of addiction. We have to have agreement on whatever our attachments are or we get upset, even violent. Think religious wars, family split over politics, attacks on those considered "other," and almost any conflict you can think of.

A long ago friend, Ken Keyes, wrote an insightful book on this topic. I am eternally grateful to him and his ideas. Basically, he suggested we shift our addictive thinking to preferences.

In this shift, my peace of mind is no longer controlled by other people shaping up to my expectations, to my point of view, to be in total agreement with me. I learn to think generously.

So, I may prefer you like what I like or make the same choices I make, but I do not require you to be another version of me. I do not give you my peace of mind by trying to control you. I give up my addiction to having others be a certain way. I can then observe others nonjudgmentally. I can empathetically come to understand you.

And if what you do is truly abhorrent to me, I can just walk away. I can still care about you. There are billions of people in this planet. I don't have to be in immediate relationship with them all.

It is exhausting to try to control others. It is essential we control, focus, balance our own life. We are each a work in progress. We are responsible for shaping up our own selves.

Let's start this new decade with a generous heart.

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