The Real Meaning of Attachment and Non-Attachment

Gautam Buddha saw the suffering of men and set out from his palace, giving up all the luxuries of a king’s life to find the cause of suffering. Through meditations and penance, he found that the root cause of suffering is attachment. 

People usually have the notion that relationships can’t be formed without attachment.

But what is attachment?

The Real Meaning of Attachment

Attachment has its basis in fear. When you are attached to someone, you can’t set them free and you lose your freedom too. This creates fear – fear of losing a person or an object. Fear causes you to create more bonds with your object of desire. And attachment keeps getting deeper. There is no space and in dense places, fear grows.

But if you can set your object of desire free, loving but not holding on, you create space for love to grow. Love, but don’t be attached. 

The opposite of fear is not fearlessness but love. When there is love, there can’t be fear. When there is fear, there is no space for love. 

Remember, attachment is not love, it is fear. 

Attachment and Relationships

Now this does not mean you stop connecting with people or possessing objects. You can use an object without being attached to it. You can use a car, you can own it. But when you become too attached to it, the car begins to own you instead of vice versa. You won’t be able to sleep without knowing it is safe, you will be obsessed about it. 

Similarly, when you love someone, you have them in your life and it’s a beautiful relationship. But when you start fearing that you will lose them, or they will leave you either by moving away, break-up/divorce or death, you start becoming fearful and attached. You start creating bonds that become the bondage. 

You start becoming obsessed with them, asking questions, keeping tabs on their whereabouts etc. You start suffocating them by trying to become closer and encroaching upon their space. And when there is no space, there is no love. That relationship has no love left, on attachment and fear. That relationship may bring you joy but it will also bring you misery and suffering. 

This is what Buddha saw – suffering. And he found the root cause of suffering is attachment.

Real Freedom

On the occasion of Buddha Purnima, the birth and enlightenment of Gautam Buddha, remember the real teaching of Buddha. Real freedom is not in holding on but in letting go. In the process, you free yourself too. If you love someone, don’t cut their wings. Let them fly. 

This is the essence of the teachings of Buddha and many other enlightened beings – free yourself. In freedom, you will find love within you. When you find love with you, the world will find love with you. 

In love, you will find the best relationships, that are loving, uplifting and real. 

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