Friday, August 9, 2013

the mighty trio

Verse 4.10: Being freed from attachment, fear and anger, being fully absorbed in Me and taking refuge in Me, many, many persons in the past became purified by knowledge of Me — and thus they all attained transcendental love for Me.

Attachment, fear and anger - or as I call them - the mighty trio. These three emotions and characteristics have the capacity to steal away all reason and intelligence. In fact, as readers might remember, two of these three characteristics (attachment and anger) are also members of "the attachment trap".

It's not so much that these qualities or emotions are good or bad in and of themselves. It's the fact that one emotion leads to another which can ultimately lead to stress and complete frustration.

The cycle tends to go as such:

As was previous explained, attachment arises due to the contemplation of objects which we believe will satisfy and make us happy. Once attachment takes root, that's when the chaos can start to manifest. Take for example a small child. They might be perfectly happy playing in their corner when they see a ball across the room. Looking at the ball, they start to make their way towards it when another child picks it up. At this point in time, some children, may start to cry and get upset.

This is actually very illustrative of what we all go through if we just seek to look a little deeper and analyze what is motivating the child's behaviour. Many might think the child is crying because they didn't get to play with the ball, but one could suggest that it's even more than that. It's the fact that the other child got to play with it.

That's where fear and anger step in because...

Attachment often instills a sense of possessiveness in an individual.

In other words, it's the mentality of "I've contemplated the object and therefore it is mine." What the bhakti texts teach us is that the moment we identify ourselves with something then fear is often a side dish that comes along, even though we haven't asked for it. We fear losing whatever we've become attached to and if anything appears to impede our enjoyment of that object then anger rears its ugly head.

The path of bhakti yoga reminds us that nothing in this world is ours to keep. This body and the world we live in is all on loan. Trying to exert ownership and control doesn't really help us.

For those who truly want to practice yoga, this is such an integral point. Yoga is about connection but almost more important than understanding that fundamental truth is understanding what it is that we should be trying to connect to.

Attachment is just one facet of connection but it's not the whole thing.

An attachment can be broken, but a connection, as per the definition of yoga, is rooted in permanency. That permanent connection that all souls are longing for is eternal love and the only person who can give it to us is the Divine. All of these other objects that we form attachments to can get in the way of our search for that love if we aren't careful.

So the next time you catch yourself falling into this trap of this mighty trio, take a step back and observe. Is this attachment helping you to become a selfless, compassionate and positive individual or is it serving to bring out the opposite in you?

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful illustration in the child seeing the ball and wanting it, then getting upset because another child beat her to it. Attachment is so natural to human nature, isn't it? But, God tells us He is enough for us, that we may be in the world, but we are not of it.
    Our only "attachment" should be to Him!
    Beautiful reflection, my friend!