“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”
Attachment: exaggerated desire to remain connected to someone or something.
Attachment is a funny thing. A New Earth defines attachment as the ego, the part of us that wants to define who we are by what we “have.”
Whether it is a nice car, a big house, or even certain relationships, our ego convinces us that’s all we are, that’s what defines us. I started to evaluate areas of my life where attachment might be lingering, and boy did I find it.
Since I can remember, money has been a subject of great anxiety for me. I couldn’t understand it. Just the thought of having to part ways with my hard-earned money gave me a feeling deep in the pit of my stomach.
On the outside, I was someone who didn’t care about money. I thought it was something ridiculous that made people go crazy and do stupid things. Who would have thought that I was one of those people I was talking about?
Money became a weird obsession. Not in a greedy way, but in a selfish way.
I was a hoarder of my money.
I wanted to keep it exactly where I had it, never spending any and saving it all. Of course, saving is a good quality to have. It’s when you start choosing to skip meals on vacation, avoid hanging out with friends because they want to go out somewhere or, even worse, choose the cheap vodka in the plastic bottle at the gas station when you are more than financially capable of getting at least a mini bottle of the good stuff—a line has been crossed.
That’s when people (the ones drinking the cheap vodka) get hurt.
Whether it’s buying food, clothes, gifts, or whatever—I felt like I had lost a part of me I would never get back. The guilt and despair was mentally crippling. I would buy clothes and five minutes after leaving the store start thinking about returning them.
Now, I am starting to understand. Attachment and clinging to money is just silly. Money is the perfect example of impermanence in this world. It is the one thing that is always coming and going. It’s really no surprise that clinging to such a inconsistent part of life would be nothing but destructive in my life.
When we allow ourselves to become so attached to something, we begin to lose the color in life. The world becomes black or white. I either stay with him, or I’ll be alone forever, I buy something and become broke, or I walk out of the store.
Where is the fun in that? When we become attached, we become stuck where we no longer grow and flow through life. The Buddha said it best, “You can only lose that to which you cling to.”
What are we clinging to? Are there areas of our lives that even the though of losing throw us into a panic? That’s the ego, and as Eckhart Tolle says, the first step to beating the ego is to see it for what it really is, an optical illusion.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Guenevere Neufeld / Editor: Travis
Photo: via author