Q43. How can we remove our attachment?

A. You should know what attachment is and where it comes from before trying to remove it. It comes from your misunderstanding things. When you can’t see things as they are, you come to misunderstand them, or make illusions of things. Taking the illusions for real, we overestimate them just as we regard a piece of broken glass as a piece of diamond and a piece of rope as a snake, when we struggle to obtain or to run away from them by all means. In a word, attachment is our strong desire to possess or avoid something.

To eliminate our attachment we should be able to see things as they are, that is, see things as neutral, when our attachment will disappear of itself. However, we might hold it down for a time, but we are likely to fail to remove it permanently if we try to fight it off. We can persuade ourselves not to have attachment and hold it back for a time, in the way we give up a big sum of money beyond our reach, by fooling ourselves into saying to ourselves, “More money than is necessary for an ordinary life can ruin people, so I don’t like such big money.” However, the attachment can come out any time again when such big money seems to be within our reach because we still have the root of it.

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Either focus on your question, or trace your attachment back to its root and you will feel it becoming weaker with time. On reaching the root of it, you will realise that its root is the very final goal you long to reach and that it is the same root from which your compassion stems, when your attachment turns into compassion of itself.

Not until we realise the fact that everything we value is neutral in itself: neither valuable nor worthless, can we root out our attachment.

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway.

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