What Is Attachment?

Attachment is of two kinds: (1) attachment to action—you take the role of the doer of action (ahamkara), and (2) attachment to the fruits of action (phalāsańgaḿ)—what you do is for the purpose of getting the results you want. 

Sańgaḿ – “Sticking or clinging to something, especially the addiction to selfish worldly attachment; desire, wish, greed.”

Attachment to Action — The Player Takes the Role of Doer

Let’s be honest. We are all attached to action, for we all see ourselves as doing the things that we do every day. We take this role because we want things to be a certain way. This is the desire behind the continued role of doership that we become inadvertently attached to.

When you act for the purpose of getting a certain result, you are taking the role of the doer.

Accepting this role as your own reinforces the sense of doership, but it is the ego that is taking this role, obscuring the Real You.

Throughout your day, whenever you think of it, begin to notice when you are engaged in an action and ask yourself, “Who or what is doing this?” Over time, regardless of the answers that arise, noticing this phenomenon will cause a separation between you and the action, and you will discover the one that asked the question.

Attachment to the Fruits of Action — The Player Acts for His Own Purpose

Attachment begins with wanting something to be a certain way. This desire is accompanied by the belief that something has to be done to make it so, and action then gets performed for the purpose of getting the desired result. This is realistic, logical—of course A and B have to take place for the desired effect to result, how can it be otherwise? We learned this from childhood.

Two things are happening here: (1) your desire says that you don’t have what you want. This places the object of desire at a distance—it is ‘over there’ somewhere, not within your grasp, and (2) trying to figure out how to get it puts it in time and space, i.e., the future, thereby distancing it from you even further. But the Reality is…

You Are Everywhere Always
What you truly are is omnipresent and without limitations. 

What we learned was not true but we continue to reenact it, slowing or stopping our progress and our ability to manifest what we need. At one level, this is precisely why we are being warned about desires.

Everything is within your grasp because everything is in You, and You are in everything.

The truth is that nothing has to be done. You have only to name it to claim it. All this dancing around with what to do, how to go about doing it, when to do it, is what is slowing you down, stopping you, stopping the very thing you want from landing in your lap.

Name it to claim it.

With regard to yoga sadhana, I think we compound this by obsessing over it, chiding ourselves for having desires, and we miss seeing our continued efforts for what they are: misguided attempts to bring desires to fruition. Again, the key to changing this is Noticing.

Noticing engages the Attention, the flow of consciousness between you and other-than-you.

Noticing is the key to putting distance between you and something else, in this case, desires. Just notice them. That’s really all you can effectively do (pardon the word), for so long as you have a mind you have an ego (ahamkara, ‘I do’, is the core of the mind), and even though it likes running the show, you have the power to choose—you don’t have to bow down to desires (ahamkara) and the compulsion to get them fulfilled (phalāsańgaḿ).

Throughout your day, whenever you think of it, find the desire behind what you are doing by revealing why you are doing it. You will probably find your motivations several layers deep. For example:

You realize that you are going to work even though you would rather stay home. Why? Because you need the money. So you are motivated my money. Why? To pay the bills. But why do you want to pay the bills? You want to pay the bills because you don’t want the electricity turned off. Why? Because you want the house to be warm, to cook food for your meals, and to heat hot water for showers, etc. Why? Because you want a certain level of comfort. Why?…
Read more >>>

By doing this exercise you can uncover the motivation behind any action that you do. It will be at the bottom of a tall stack of answers. The trick is not to judge it, just Notice it.

It is always better to know the truth about yourself, even if you think you should be some other way. Otherwise you will go through life pretending and never knowing what you are doing, why you are doing it, how to change the things you want to change, and how to manifest what you need.

You cannot become truly Self-realized
if you are not self-realized.

Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are),
Durga Ma

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One thought on “What Is Attachment?

  1. Dear Ma,
    Yahtzee!!! What a great entry. Thank you so much for this! I experienced this phenomenon and over the past week and was going back over it just this morning.

    The slowing of spiritual progress is palpable. For me it’s an experience of loss/death/suffering to varying degrees. Yet when the desire is not triumphant in winning my undivided attention the experience is not avoided, but lessened to a certain degree and followed with a tsunami of freedom, relief and LOVE.

    Many thanks for this wonderful explanation and for defining such complex subtleties with great elegance! Namaste.



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