Persistent thoughts, desires and emotions are huge impediments to our progress in meditation, and we would like to be rid of them – but how?
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If we would have our attachments release us so we can finally enjoy peace and freedom, we must first release our attachments so they too can fly free.
In practice, this means separating our identity from our thoughts, desires, prejudices, notions and beliefs, for we are not them – we are something and someone much vaster, deeper, beyond description. All thoughts, beliefs and ideals – no matter how sophisticated, comprehensive, persuasive and noble – only limit us and block us from seeing, feeling and becoming what lies beyond them. They are idols, toys, models of reality in which we wrap ourselves against the unknown. However that which protects us from the unknown, also insulates and isolates us from the Real, the very goal of our search.
Why are attachments so difficult to dislodge? We blame errant thoughts and desires as unwanted, unruly tenants who refuse to leave after their lease has expired, continuing wrecking things and disturbing everyone around. We are helpless victims of their tyranny.
Yet when we look carefully within we see that the cords binding us to our thoughts, desires and emotions are of our own making. It is we who have entrapped them, we who have attached ourselves and cling to them, not the other way around. We cherish them because they enable us to label ourselves: our attachments define us.
As long as we derive our identity and sense of self from the enslavement of false notions and beliefs, we are only enslaving ourselves. To gain freedom, we must first grant freedom to all our attachments – unconditionally, permanently and irrevocably.