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Saanen, 5th meeting 1980

Questions and Answers 39th Question Saanen 5th Question & Answer Meeting 27th July 1980 'Attachment'

Question: Attachment brings about a kind of emotional exchange, a human warmth, which seems a fundamental need. Detachment produces coldness, lack of affection, a break in relationship; it can also deeply hurt others. Something seems to be wrong with this approach. What do you say?

The word `attach' means to cling, to hold, to have the feeling that you belong to somebody and that somebody belongs to you. Cultivating detachment breeds lack of affection, a coldness, a break in relationship; it is the cultivation of the opposite. Naturally it will. If detachment is the opposite of attachment, then that detachment is an idea, a concept, a conclusion that thought has brought about as a result of realizing that attachment produces a lot of trouble, a lot of conflict, jealousy and anxiety. So thought says, "It is much better to be detached." Detachment is a non-fact, whereas attachment is a fact. When there is attachment, to cultivate detachment is a movement towards illusion and in that illusion you become cold, hard, bitter, isolated without any sense of affection. That is what we are all doing: living in non-fact.

Can you face the fact that you are attached - not only to a person, to an idea, to a belief, but to your own experiences, which is much more dangerous? Your own experiences give you a sense of excitement, a sense of being alive.

If one is aware that one is attached one sees all the consequences of that attachment - anxiety, lack of freedom, jealousy, anger, hatred. In attachment there is also a sense of safety, a sense of stability, a sense of being guarded, protected. And so there is the possessor and the possessed and hence there must be jealousy, anxiety, fear and all the rest. Now, do you see the consequences of all that - not the description of it but the actuality of it? I am attached to you out of my loneliness and that attachment, arising from loneliness, says, "I love you". I feel a communication because you are also in the same position. Two people cling to each other out of their loneliness, out of their depression, out of their unhappiness. So what happens? I am clinging not to you, but to the idea, to something which will help me to escape from myself.

You may be attached to an experience, to an incident, which has given you great excitement, a great sense of elation, a sense of power, a sense of safety and you are clinging to that. That experience, which you have had, what is it? That experience is registered in the mind and you hold it. That something you are holding on to is dead and you also are becoming dead. If you see all this, without any direction, without any motive, just observe it, then you will see that insight shows the whole thing as on a map. When once there is that insight the thing disappears completely, you are not attached.

Questions and Answers

Saanen, 5th meeting 1980

Questions and Answers 39th Question Saanen 5th Question & Answer Meeting 27th July 1980 'Attachment'

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