Attachment to Things – Pain and Pleasure

Know what you are getting yourself into. That should be rule 1 of knowing yourself and agreeing to be attached. It is an agreement, here is why I say this. Attachments are based around your belief of something that became objectified through your ideals. Therefore you make the agreement that you will love that image of that thing, but have at that point skewed what it actually is in reality. Its beauty is crippled through attachment, the potential to love this thing unconditionally is not stunted at this point. This is not a bad thing, you just have to know what you’re getting yourself into and to take responsibility for that attachment. That one day that thing will present something that is outside of your view of it, and when it does, you have two choices. You can either change your perspective or be open to this new change, which I think would be ideal on your part, because it allows you to take it in with compassion and an open heart. The other is suffering, and here is what I mean by suffering, when an idividuals idea of the attachment is conflicting with their own and therefore they become unhappy with the outcome of this new environment that the attachment has created. One could say you suffer from fear of being outside of the comfort zone of your own personal reality.

Why emotional suffering persists

when there is attachment to things, emotional suffering persists based on not giving way to the fact that your idea might be outdated. Whether it is a loved one, acquaintance, teacher, dog, etc. all of those ideas that you have built up an image of this thing, and what its suppose to be like, how its’ suppose to act, what its’ temperament is, and other things of this sort. Its true though, take a look into your everyday life, and see how many things and people that you have put an idea, belief, or any other kind of label that you’ve put on them. For example, you walk into your friends apartment and your buddy Bill who is a real stand up guy, has a sense of humor, is very outgoing in your views is sitting in the corner just kind of to himself, and very reserved. You go up to him and ask him why hes not energetic and the sort and he tells you to leave him alone. Now you get upset at this maybe because hes usually a nice guy and for whatever reason he has snapped at you. You aren’t upset with him really for snapping at you (maybe a little) but rather for the fact that your idea of him was conflicted with what you were just presented with. However if you just let it go at this point and open your heart and see that every human being is susceptible to these elements based on circumstances, then it may be easier to take.

The emotional suffering comes from our ends, in regards to our ability to let go of our own ideas of someone to be receptive to the beauty of who this person really is. This is a constant cycle of letting go of your attachment to things. It does not mean to be detached from everything, because that’s just the other side of the same coin, but rather to allow things to fall in their right places and to appreciate every flavor that life is willing to give us and to flow with those things.

Letting Love Go

This of course is easier said that done in terms of attachments to loved ones that may have seen a fork in the road and have chose to take the opposite side from yourself. Sometimes these events cannot be avoided (sometimes they can, its best to try and see with an open heart where the other is coming from and seeing if there is any way something can be mended). However sometimes things just don’t work out, so investing a lot of energy into another is tough when it comes to attachments. I will be the first to admit that growing attachment to someones is not something that can just be turned off by seeing that they are ideas of the person and not who they are and that things have changed.

First things first is seeing that this person is always changing to begin with, so  seeing that they have changed even now is something you have to investigate. So if this person is always constantly changing, then why have you not been letting go of those old attachments of those ideas to begin with, isn’t that why you’ve been put in this position because, your ideas of each other no longer ring true?

Look at it from this stand point though, regardless of what happened in the relationship, you still learned a lot in terms of yourself. Your weaknesses and strengths as well as qualities that you may want in another mate later on down the road. There is nothing saying that it is bad to have attachments to things, its just that like I said in the very beginning that you have to know what you’re getting yourself into. You would be foolish to think that attachments to things will only lead to pleasure, and not eventually to suffering as life moves on and constantly transforms these things for the better. It is the same for you though, life has done this with you, and you cannot say otherwise for even a day or week ago you have not have some of the same thoughts that you do in this present moment. Did you know that every seven years the body is completely filled with new cells (not one single old cell exists in the body).

Having and Open Heart to Life

Here is what it comes down to, when you see something next time, look at it but make no judgement (This may take some effort in the beginning, but the more the “mental” muscle is practiced just like anything else, the easier it becomes) but really just look at it and take it for what it is. Try not to alter it with your labels. I guarantee you that you will enjoy life by ten fold if you go about it this way. This however also might have to be taken into consideration which is to take a look at your own beliefs, concepts, and ideals. These are also roadblocks into clear seeing. If you are already seeing through a filter, trying to see others for who they are really gets difficult. Those filters must be investigated and eliminated, for they won’t allow you to see the true beauty of a person that is right in front of your eyes.


Nick Myers, a 28 year old serial blogger. Also minimalist, zen participant, philosopher, author of Emotional Alchemist, and tea disciple. I am one who sees a potential lesson in every experience in life. Life is who we are and life is our ultimate guru. I seek to bring us together through our own shared experiences. And hope to not only learn deeply who I am but to learn deeply who others are by dropping my ideas from moment to moment about you.

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Posted in Life, love, suffering, Zen
2 comments on “Attachment to Things – Pain and Pleasure
  1. Liz Madsen says:

    =))))))) I swear, Nick, you must be the biggest life lover I know. I do wonder though if that attachment (to life, obviously) doesn’t get in the way of you seeing how crap it all is sometimes. LOL

    Pain and pleasure are everywhere.

    I once read a story of a samurai who had his arm cut whilst talking to his friends and kept on talking, not feeling a thing (may have mentioned this before).

    I suppose there are ways you can get THAT detached and I do envy the whole thing, but if you take on pleasure the price is always pain. LOL I don’t think it’s about you getting attached, but about the whole dual nature of the human being. And you’re attached to everything around you, ever since you come on this planet, including water and such. =)) Reason: survival. That’s different? Why? 😛

    And I think the only key to detachment is to give up on all life as we know it.

    I’ll stop here. It’s hard for me to approach such subjects these days, because the flaws of human nature make me speechless. Must be too attached. 🙂

  2. zenkitties says:

    lol, how crap life is sometimes. Well it isn’t an attachment to life, and I can assure you it doesn’t get in the way of feeling like shit. 😛 (I am recently going through a break up so I can attest to this.)

    You’re right, pleasure are pain are everywhere and the relating is on the terms of attachment to things through human beings, as im trying to relate to possible things people could be struggling with.

    If I were to go deeper to this I would say that attachment only exists because the thought of attachment latches on to ideas and doesn’t let them go. There is no such thing as an actually attachee doing it. attachment and detachment exists as thoughts and therefore feelings become associated with the thoughts in question, and the body/mind picks up the response to feel it. But there is actually nothing there in terms of going through it all, it is just a happening. The thought IS attachment and attaches to things, which is why it may or may not be attached to everything, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that there is attachment to everything around you. If that were true, you would be living in hell every time every little thing changed. I would never wish that on you.

    Just because the human body enjoys water doesn’t mean its attached to it, I don’t think attachment and survival are quite the same, and human beings don’t pain themselves for water even when having an over abundance of it in their spare time the same way that a lover would pain for his beloved that has left him, where the mind will try and torture the individual for the thoughts that persist inside of all that empty space. They grow at a mutatious level because there is no actual boundary.

    detachments key is to see where YOUR beliefs and concepts are, and see how insanely absurd most of them are and drop them. The more that is dropped the easier it becomes to see things as they are. Even the thought of human nature being flawed is perfectly flawed. but honestly, is it flawed or muddled in something that you seek to control and that you want your way, and it just simply isn’t? 😛 Too attached, not to human beings, but to thought. =]

    Thanks for the post Liz! 🙂

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