Getting rid of attachments

Discussion in 'Spirituality/Worship' started by vivian53, Jul 3, 2009.

  1. vivian53

    vivian53 Member

    I have found that working my Al-Anon steps go hand in hand with my learning the principles of Buddhism.

    One area is that of attachment. The thinking that causes us to superimpose good qualities on to people or things that aren't realistic, and expect those things to bring us happiness. I know it is true that jealousy, resentment and anger follow these attachments. Not to mention stinking thinking.

    I am guilty of having done this all my life. The Buddhist version of 'looking for love in all the wrong places'.

    As I work a mini step four I realize that my character defects do coincide with this unhealthy thinking.

    There is a large source of wisdom here from those of you that have studied different religions and of course, I'd like to tap in to some of this knowledge.

    So, how have you learned this? In what ways do you practice getting rid of attachments?

    Anyone (Wind, Spring, Rafiki, Cate, Jam......Wayne.....) want to give this a shot?

  2. springwater

    springwater Well-Known Member

    is easier to practise as one gets older and goes thru all the bumps in the road.

    To survive one starts detaching.

    Its become easier for me nowadays; when i was younger, even a couple of years ago i used to feel things a lot and fret and fume if something happened to annoy me.

    Realising no one is yours really...everyone is on a journey of their own helps keep things in perspective where relationships are concerned. I just want my kids to grow up, stand on their own feet...learn their lessons....we're all on our own in the end, if we're ill and we want to get better, we ourselves have to help ourselves, others cant, they may try but the effort comes from ones self.

    I used to worry myself sick over my brothers antics....theyve gone thru the alcoholism, smoking, broke i do what i can and then leave it....taking other peoples worries and pain on....solves nothing...except maybe give you a few more ulcers. You empathise, sympathise, do what you can to help and then detach....

    God Bless

  3. TwoCatDoctors

    TwoCatDoctors New Member

    My adult son is toxic and eventually I had to detach. In hindsight I realize now it was the absolute best thing I did for myself, but also for my son. He then had to stand on his own and couldn't be calling me all the time for help, and he just kept taking knowing I had very little income. But he offered no help to me knowing I was disabled. We parted when he said he felt it wasn't "cool to be seen with disabled people."

    So we detached and in about a year I received a collect call from him in jail. I didn't accept and simply hung up. It's his problem to handle, not mine. I also guess you could say I don't think it is "cool being seen with jailed people."

  4. soulight

    soulight New Member

    This is one I continually have to work on . I went to Over eaters A and Co-dependents A . The co-dependent group is where I was hit right between the eyes.

    I am always reminding myself that it is not my job to fix everyone and everything in the world. Especially when I have so many things to fix about myself. With me , though , I also have to work on , well not attachment , but relationships I guess.

    I complain about being isolated with my health , but then I tend to isolate myself anyway . Reaching out on the net is part of my healing.

    Detaching from my toxic friends and family is also part of my healing . What a balancing act.

  5. vivian53

    vivian53 Member

    It is hard realizing that the people and things in our lives are transitory. I have also stopped putting so much value on material things. I used to have an obsession with jewelry and gems. I have collected so much over the years. I now don't have any feelings attached to these objects at all.

    I gave the things in my life so much more meaning than they really had. It is true, I think, that we tend to see things much more clearly when we get older.

    Detaching from people is so much harder for me. I will give relationships power over my behavior, thinking and emotions, if I am not careful. My fathers passing has brought these attachments more to my attention. I thought I would never be ok without him. Now I think I just may be.

    Relationships with others, as far as I am concerned, are the hardest to let go of. Realizing that the people in my life won't make me happy, only I can do that, is difficult.

    You guys have posted some very successful detachments from unhealthy relationships. How brave and insightful ya'll have been been. I am trying to detach from my alcoholic boyfriend. I realize that my belief that I will not be ok without a 'man' in my life has been unhealthy for me for a very long time.

    It takes practice, it takes time, and for me it takes the support of my friends here and at my Al-Anon meetings. I now have a sponsor, Yey!

    In order to give these up, I am writing them down daily on a piece of paper , turning it over to my HP in my mind, and then tearing it up.

    peace and love to all
  6. Waynesrhythm

    Waynesrhythm Member

    Hi Vivian,

    Boy, you have a knack for choosing some pretty big topics. :) Well, I'll share a couple things off the top of my head.

    Often when I think of my own attachments, I think of terms of not being too attached to my own ideas or my own opinions. If I'm not careful, I can end up "becoming" my ideas and opinions. Not a good thing; in fact, a good way to create sort of a self-imposed prison.

    Don't get me wrong, having ideas and opinions is not a bad thing. Just becoming too attached to them is what can create all kinds of difficulties. I've even noticed that sometimes the more certain I feel about something (as in getting attached), the more likely it is that I'm probably wrong about it. I find my best perceptions are usually in alignment with a sense of calm.

    Regarding your comments about having an alcoholic boyfriend. I was just browsing a little booklet entitled "Spiritual Wisdom on Relationships". In it, the author mentions a good question a person might ask themselves when assessing a relationship. That question: "Are you yourself, a loving giving individual?" If the answer is yes, the author mentions that you must then learn to find someone who is worthy of that love. Sounds like some pretty good wisdom to me.

    I guess one final thought on attachment. Sometimes I can get myself tied up in knots trying to resolve inner conflicts I deal with which involve attachments. I've learned that just keeping my attention on a situation or attachment can keep it a "big" thing. Often by shifting my attention toward just about anything that gives me a sense of love or gratitude, is enough to break out of this mental and/or emotional grip. It's not that I ignore issues, I just try to bring back a sense of balance and harmony.

    I think it's good to understand the nature of attachments as we make our way in this world. Often people who try to influence us, (and may not have our best interests at heart), will try to play on our own or our culture's attachments. Appealing to a sense of patriotism when advocating for a certain political agenda is often seen. Appealing to a sense of entitlement when promising certain benefits that cannot be paid for is not in harmony with spiritual or economic princples.

    So, I would say politicians often try to manipulate people by appealing to their attachments. This is also often done by salespeople, certain religous leaders, etc. Keeping ourselves detached from these kinds of people and their messages can save us a lot of grief. BTW Springwater, loved your comments. I could very much relate.

    All the Best, Wayne

    P.S. I might just mention that I tend to think of rising above attachments as opposed to getting rid of them. To me, this translates to a lesser sense of conflict and more a sense of just letting them fade away.[This Message was Edited on 07/07/2009]
  7. vivian53

    vivian53 Member

    Hi everyone,

    Progress not perfection right Cate?

    My attachments to members of the opposite sex aren't quite what they used to be either Jam. And no offense to any member of the opposite sex but.....I fully understand the 'just don't want the aggravation' viewpoint. Many men may feel the same way about women and I haven't heard much about it.

    Rain I understand thinking of 'managing attachments' and agree with you. It is an ongoing process, life long , isn't it?

    Ok Wayne you really nailed it with your statements about being attached to opinions. The more important my opinion is the more I know that something more is going on with me. I have to dig deeper and ask important questions. Why is it so important to be right? Is it a matter of letting go of control? Do I really know better than someone else about how they should believe or behave?

    Just letting go of the issue and changing focus works for me too in solving problems. The solutions will come if I let them and stay open to them.

    I also am practicing not forcing the solutions. It has ever made for good outcomes in my case either. This is so so hard for me. Another letting go issue, not to mention control again.

    Besides all that I don't want to take myself too seriously either, ya know?

  8. windblade

    windblade Active Member

    Is this a phrase from Al-Anon - "Detach with Love"?

    I would like to read more on the 12 steps teachings on detachment. Is there a web-site that would explain about it?

    I'm always trying to integrate the psychological and spiritual parts of myself.

    Excellent topic and responses! I can relate to so much.
  9. windblade

    windblade Active Member

    Thanks for validating that quote. It is a wonderful one - it's been running through my head lately. Very consoling, and wise.

    I live on the East Coast.

    I'm going to check my libraries and online to see what reading material they have on the Steps.
    I made a note of the title you mentioned also.

    I enjoyed reading what you wrote on this thread about letting go - getting rid of material things, and other detachments. Lots of wonderful sharing on this thread.

    Keep well!
  10. Waynesrhythm

    Waynesrhythm Member

    Hi All,

    I ran across a couple of spiritual quotes that I thought might be appropriate for this thread. The first one, which seems to touch on some of the earlier comments about being detached from other people or their situations, goes as follows:

    As we come out of our childhood of spirituality into greater states, we learn to let people be.

    The second one, which I found to be a very powerful reminder of our spiritual destiny, goes as follows:

    When we give up attachment to everything, including the little self, then we find wisdom, power and freedom.

    Best to All, Wayne
  11. vivian53

    vivian53 Member

    Good quotes Wayne. Freedom from having to acquire things that I have given inflated importance to, freedom from having to worry about how I can help fix everyone else's lives, and the freedom that I feel when I let go of old ways of being that don't work anymore.

    Rainbow I have not gotten rid of all of my precious items, I have just changed my attitude about what my stuff means to me. I've though gotten rid of most of the junk, so that's a step forward. I'll work on letting go of the others as the feeling hits me, I know it will in time.

    The problem you described Jam, was enormous. I have a similar problem to tackle in our barn, not that large a scale I hope. My father had 60 something shirts hanging in his closet, 36 of them we long sleeved white dress shirts. Go figure.

    freedom to all

  12. bigmama2

    bigmama2 New Member

    i used to have a big problem with stuff/things/clutter. huge attachment issues. it got rather out of control. and it was stressful and depressing- and it weighed me down. i had been trying to get a handle on it for - well- lets just say a very long time. but now it is much better- still have a ways to go. i will keep working on it!

    some things that helped me-- reading info online about clutter/stuff- why one keeps it- and how to deal with getting rid of it-. i think there are even on line support groups. many many people have this problem. i also read about "hoarding". and i read some books on these subjects. they were really helpful.

    just wanted to share this. it can get better!

    i also had a certain emotional attachment situation that was harmful to me psychologicaly. somehow i have let it go and moved on. it feels much better.

    good luck everyone!
  13. vivian53

    vivian53 Member

    Yes you folks really do understand. Thanks SJ for always remembering my family. You are such a thoughtful person. A real gem. Your attitude of gratitude is so important to happiness, I think.

    Jam I like what you are doing with giving away things. My parents did the same thing; the silver, the coins, the stamps, the diamonds, etc, all given prior to their deaths. I think they were finished with them, but also wanted to avoid any inheritance tax type of situation. LOL

    Letting go of the past, letting go of worrying about the future, living in the here and now. It is a so much simpler way to be.


  14. vivian53

    vivian53 Member

    Yes Cate it is quite a journey. I struggle with the same internal attachments that you have described; the attachments to our expectations of others, the attachments to the way we had planned for things to turn out, and the attachments to our perceived wrongs (what we have done and others).

    I am big on blaming myself. I am working on not being attached to "it's all my fault, always has been and always will be." I give myself too much power. Who am I to think that I have control over all these events and behaviors? Who am I to say how others should or should not behave? I have a lot to learn and unlearn. LOL

    One day I think I have this stuff under control, the next I am "back in the ring" just like you. Gotta keep working on it and expect to fall down sometimes, but then get up and start again.

    My son is medically fragile and doesn't take care of himself the way he needs to (the way I think he should). He is 21, he is moving a thousand miles away. It scares the living crap out of me but I have to keep that to myself. I can't control his behavior, what he chooses to do or not to do is none of my business. I am working hard on keeping my opinions to myself, he doesn't listen and resents my interference. It is very hard for me to keep my mouth shut.

    I am letting go of my job as his medical case manager. I have an attachment to it for many reasons, one being that it has been a big part of my identity. Well, to be perfectly honest I guess I was fired. So for me Let Go and Let God, and Progress Not Perfection, are the perfect slogans.

    Thanks for adding your perspective.

    big hugs to all