Test Your Attachments

Test your own attachments

I'm interested in Buddhism a little bit. Not too much but a little bit. One of the concepts or ideas that I really like about Buddhism is the concept of attachment. I think it was the Buddha who said that our attachments are our source of suffering and pain. I have to say that's a pretty deep concept and I'm quite interested in trying to apply that to my life.

I spent years trying to learn how to let go. A lot of pop psychology says let go. I haven't seen a single pop psychology article that has given me any useful advice on how to let go. I finally discovered that we can let go through our breathing and our re-experiencing memories.

Two Situations

The First Situation

Anyway I digress. If you want to find out how attached you are there's a simple question you can ask yourself about one of two situations: Imagine that you are accused of committing a crime but in fact you didn't commit it.

The Second Situation

Now let's change the scenario. Imagine that you are accused of a crime, and in fact you did commit it.

The Big Question

Which situation brings up what kinds of feelings? In other words how do you feel about either situation?

Your Response

You might say you feel very very upset about the first situation when you in fact didn't commit the crime. Or you might say that you feel very upset about the second situation where in fact you did commit the crime. Your answer will indicate your level of attachment, and what you're attached to.

One Possible Response

If you are bothered by the first situation, it seems that you are attached to external people feelings events situations. The injustice of it all and being falsely accused indicates your attachment to those events and situations or other people's feelings about you.

On The Other Hand

On the other hand if you're bothered more by the second situation, then your attachments are more to yourself. You're probably bothered by the fact that you did commit the crime and you have feelings about yourself that you're attached to and committing the crime has transgressed those feelings.

A Third Response

You might say both are equally bothering. In which case your attachments are fairly equally balanced. But there's another response yet.

Finally Number Four

You might say neither situation is more important than the next and both are not very important. This indicates a fairly low level of attachment to yourself, and to external events and people's feelings.

Insight into the Bhudda's Idea

I think this is what the Buddha was trying to point to. Not being attached means you're not bothered by external events situations or your own internal events in situations. Naturally you shouldn't commit a crime nor would the Buddha advise committing crimes. It's purely a hypothetical situation. But it does a good job of delineating where our attachments lie. What's your response to this quandary?