It’s said in many different religious traditions that giving up ones attachments can be deeply liberating. While it’s certainly possible to understand this the process of giving up ones attachments is complex. Where to start?
We might begin with attachments to Queen, State or country. This might sound simple but think a little about what the head of state might have meant to your parents or grandparents or your siblings. Have you inherited any of these views? Realising that you might have some residual attachments is only the first step in actually giving them up.
Have you attachments to your place of birth, your schooling or your early years? Do pictures and tapes of these places still tug at your heart sleeves? Are these attachments? Can you give them up?
At a more fundamental level what about your own attachments – those you think you know about? Clearly identifiable ideological tropes are easy to spot – ok so you’re no longer an anarchist/Young Tory/Socialist?Lib Dem member. But what was it in you that lead you to hook up with these organisations? What need was met by them? Are you attached to those meeds?
In the same way its easy to see what certain clothes signified back in the day but do the same needs to dress in a certain way (Protection? Display? Sexuality) still unconsciously shape your choices? Are you attached to these?
Look at the micro-habits of your life and step back. Its not so much the foods as the need to prepare them and eat them in certain ways and certain times that indicate your attachments.
Attachments are behind the public signs of us – they are the force that binds us to others. Truly giving up your attachments could mean a significant reorientation of the way you are understood by yourself and others. This is quite a task.
Their was a reason these hermits lived alone in the hills.