In this episode, we look at a three-step process to lessen attachment. The first step is to notice the craving mind and examine it. The craving mind focuses on its object of desire, exaggerates its good qualities, and fixates on it until it feels it can not be happy without it: it is at this stage that attachment has arisen. We might be attached to a new car, a person, being right, or an experience going the way we want it to. Our mind of attachment makes these things so desirable, imbuing them with attractiveness, and yet the attachment to them sets us up for disappointment, painful longing, or dissatisfaction. Attachment is like tasting honey on the raiser’s edge; the first taste is sweet, but pain is soon to follow.
A three-step practice to lesson attachment
You can meditate on the breath to loosen a fixation. Once you’ve noticed your mind glued to its object of attachment, this meditation frees and settles the mind because it focuses on a completely neutral object—the breath.
Offering a purified version of your object of attachment to all living beings is a profound way to lessen craving and create causes to be free of it completely, eventually. For example, you might be attached to buying a new home. Your mind is fixated on it; you feel you can’t be happy unless you buy a new house, but financially it would be reckless at this time. You could settle your mind and think, “may all living beings have safe and comfortable shelter.” Feel that your offering creates the cause for all beings to have shelter. Giving up your object of attachment now has a universal purpose. Or it might lift you up from the narrow mind of craving to a feeling of connection and love to all living beings. If you're attached to a person for whom its inappropriate, you could think “may all beings experience pure love.” Make the offering a purified version of your attachment.
The craving of a person who lives negligently
Spreads like a creeping vine.
Such a person leaps ever onward,
Like a monkey seeking fruit in the forest. (334)*
--Buddha, The Dhammapada
References and Links
Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011. (Link)
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