Words create worlds and the very word, ‘Attachment’ has come to be understood and experienced by a consciousness that surfs the surface waters of life, projects it as a twin-faced entity …..alluring, on the one hand, as it’s considered as a synonym to the nectarous sap of relationships and bonding, while, on the other hand, is projected as a demonic force that dominates, consuming the very sap of joy and freedom.
Those who subscribe to the second view having borne the brunt of its stifling energy and force find in the poise of detachment a reprieve, a liberation that may lead them to embrace a life of ascetic barrenness.
In Sri Aurobindo’s insights into the comprehensive nature of the flavours of life, lies the light of wisdom…. the wisdom of embracing the ‘this and that’, the wisdom that sees attachments and detachment as complementary forces…. the wisdom that can bring to attachment a freedom from entanglements and to detachment a freedom from embracing an ascetic barrenness to life.
The six sessions on Traversing Attachment was a cascade of the consciousness paradigm. Each session was a rivulet, carrying a wealth of insights and merged in the vastness of an oceanic truth, that all life is a play of the Divine and the goal of life is to merge with the Divine, the source of Oneness. It requires a summit consciousness in the constant presence of the Psychic and the facilitators traced the simple steps that one can tread in a sunlit path of awareness.
Aditi Kaul’s session, ‘Engagement without Entanglements’ was premised on an integral approach to life and provided the lead to dwell on the Aurobindonian insight and vision that ”All life is Yoga”. The making of the daily life into a pilgrimage entails the knowing of one’s purpose of life and the destination, so as to be able to map the route of this journey through the path of engagement, without being trapped in entanglements.
The Session mapped the essentials
- A clarity in knowing what one is seeking in life and a comprehensive understanding of the human personality.
- A realisation of the traits and conditionings of the surface personality that transfers us into narrow moulds that hunger after illusory attachments to money, power, position…. attachments that purely serve one’s self-interest.
- An understanding that attachments are magnificent wrappings of hidden unsatiated desires, needs, longings for security, care, comfort, fear, etc. One needs to discover the drive behind the face of attachments. Attachments driven by a one-sided need to demonstrate an intense sense of care and love too can create an overwhelm.
- Becoming conscious of one’s narratives and ability to look within.
- The poise of being an observer.
- Tending the flame of aspiration.
The Middle Ground
While blind attachments lead to entanglements, detachments that sprout from bitterness often lead to an ascetic barrenness. Hence one must tread the middle path guided by the Light within.
Vastness allows respecting the freedom of the other and the language of care acquires a gentleness, sans the quality of clinginess.
Creating a neutral space for oneself and the other and neutralising the charge of high- intensity emotions create a conducive environment for the flowering of healthy relationships.
Establishing a seamless connect between one’s inner and outer self, so as the outer mirrors the attributes of the inner. Personal narratives dissolve in the presence of the inner flame, the Psychic.
In a loving awareness, one recognises the many-hued nuances of attachments and is able to harness the Will to wade through the journey and understand that the ultimate goal is Oneness with the Divine.
To ‘drink from the fount of Divine Love‘ is the dictum and the being begins to experience the joy of attachments in the freedom of the inner poise…. attachments sans entanglements is the poise of the soul.
A Firm No to Time Space Urgency:
It’s a journey of a lifetime. One cannot prematurely birth to freedom.
The journey in purification must be a gentle one without any demands for immediacy of results. Aspiration and patience provide the scaffolding.
One needs to be fully present. The very process and journey have to be viewed as the reward.
Spiritual bypassing has no place in this journey. One needs to awaken and grow.
What unfolds in the journey must be taken up and worked upon as a labour of love without any attempt to suppress emotions that raise their head. The inner compassing provides a compassionate touch that can heal and transform untransmuted emotions.
One understands the existence of the ‘many-layered self’ and the pull of their attachments; it’s in aligning with the inner voice, the voice that expresses the inner truth that one harmonises the voices of the other aspects of the self; one invites to the forefront the authentic self.
As the yoga unfolds, one engages with the outer world, but the focus is on inner harmony and progress.
Gentleness, peace and harmony inhabit the heart and relationships.
Attachments that exercise a push and a pull lose their grip and ultimately fade away in the strength of this inward-bound journey in Light.
The movement of invoking the Divine Presence at the heart centre and inviting it to preside over life’s moments prefaces the cherished goal of experiencing oneness with the Divine.
Dr. Yogesh Mohan’s session, ‘Attachment to Liberation – an Inner Journey’, mapped the trajectory of a true inner progress…. a journey towards freedom, a journey that reorients one towards an inwardness…. a journey that aspires to reach the shores of Peace…. a journey that knows its destination, its purpose and the path.
The journey requires one to understand that attachment is a natural instinct in the scheme of creation.
Attachment per se is not the problem…. it’s the pain of detachment from the object of love or desire and the subsequent harsh terrain of suffering and pain that one has to traverse in the aftermath of a fractured relationship that gives to the notion of attachment an ambiguity, causing one to withdraw abruptly and embrace the contrary poise of detachment.
Understanding the Shadows
It’s attachment to one’s own limited belief-systems and to one’s clinging to one’s habituated ways of perceiving and processing life’s situation that gives to experiences a narrowness .
Living at the surface level, our consciousness loses the depth and insight to foster a relationship with our inner selves that houses the eternal…. the everlasting source of joy and oneness.
The ephemeral nature of the outer world is such that it grants to attachments only a limited lifespan.
Towards the Inner Light
Self-reflection that anchors itself in a loving compassionate awareness, reveals the little twists and knots in the domain of attachment that result in grief . This engagement with one’s own self needs to be undertaken with a non-judgmental attitude.
We understand our place in the evolutionary journey of life…. we understand we are work in progress when we thirst for peace and harmony and aspire for higher truths.
A wideness flowers, a richness dawns, releasing us from the grip of the ego-bound consciousness. The ego-bound practice of proclaiming oneself right and validating what one believes in, is replaced by a vision that believes in inclusivity…. the peace-bound journey begins.
By revisiting the past and examining the present, we realise we were different from who we are now. This being the nature of things, the futility of yoking oneself to fixated beliefs that clip the wings of progress should be recognised. It paves the way to bid adieu to limited notions of oneself and the world around. We become the ‘ever- blossoming flowers’ in the evolutionary journey of life.
Detaching oneself from a mind that declares its supremacy despite its limitations is a sure way to secure freedom from its clutches.
Entry-points to Freedom
It vests with each individual to chart one’s individual journey as per his inherent nature.
The baseline is the commitment to nurture one’s life by opening oneself to a sense of vastness, aspiring to work towards creating a life that stands on the pillars of peace, calm, respect and joy.
One must feel the gentle touch of peace in any situation. Upholding and inviting peace is a synonym to upholding the value of a relationship in freedom and gentleness.
One discovers new vistas of consciousness as one journeys in freedom from the outer to the inner realms.
Manoj Pavitran’s session ‘Freedom from Attachment’ was premised on the Upanishadic understanding of ‘The Delight Principle’…. that forms the bedrock of Creation.
Freedom from attachment is an inevitable condition to experience the delight of existence. To wade through the highs and lows of earthly existence, one needs to submerge oneself in the vastness of a wisdom that a divine life on earth is a possibility, if one lives in the summit of a consciousness that identifies itself with the rhythm and grandeur of the Divine Will and Plan. Knots and resistances are the language of the surface consciousness…. whereas that which seeks a deeper truth that flowers, knowing the presence of an Omnipotent Force.
Is it ever possible to savour the flavour, the rasa of life sans entanglements?
Can reality mirror the poise of one who enters a theatre and savours an
emotion-packed drama, and enjoys the unforeseen twists unfolding a host of emotions and leaves the space without being entangled in a maze of emotions?
One wonders if such a psychological dimension of maintaining an emotional distance in awareness is a possibility in real life situations?
The Portal of Life
Attachments that bring in its trail, grief and sorrow are considered a gateway to entanglements. The poise of detachment seems to be the only force to counteract the negative impact caused by attachments. The common error is to rob the capacity of savouring the play of life by resorting to an ascetic barrenness in the name of detachment.
One needs to enter the portal of life with the poise of pure awareness, and by the luminous strength of this awareness realise the truth of existence and the mystic nature of the Absolute, the Creator who resides in every particle of the manifested and unmanifested world.
An attitude of Samata, equanimity, flowers in the soil of this knowledge.
The opening lines of the Isha Upanishad holds the priceless wisdom of this truth as it advocates the poise of surrendering to the light of the Source and allowing it to govern our lives.
To be able to see in the manifested world of forms and colour the presence of the One, is to be able to experience a nurturing vastness…. it infuses in the seeker the quintessential essence of a poise that exults in a total offering of self to the One that inhabits all and by ‘That ‘renounces and savours life as the play of the Divine. The knowledge and the equanimity that flowers in this knowing bequeaths to the seeker a freedom and a joyous fulfilment in the path of Light.
Everything in creation is experienced as an expression of ‘That‘, a wave of ‘That’ coming into one’s life for a point of time and ultimately will disappear like the movement of an undulating wave that rises, is sustained for a moment, falls and dissolves .
It is the Same Being that plays through the identity that positions itself as the ‘me’, and the ‘other’“ . Both are tributaries of the same eternal Source. Understanding the largeness of this truth guides one to cry a halt to self-referencing and in considering oneself as the centre of happenings. A sense of doership that one holds on to dissolves in the magnitude of this truth. A flawed perspective that we nurture regarding ownership blindfolds our vision and we miss the delight of seeing the play of the divine through his manifold movements in life.
As we fly to higher altitudes of knowing, freedom emerges.
Stages of Development
The first stage is it develop the witness poise.
One must consciously embrace the poise of an upholder…. one holds space for an experience to unfold…. be it one that is joyful or one that spells sorrow. One does not dread the touch of experiences and recoil…. one witnesses the hands of life playing on the chords of emotions. One doesn’t tread the path of detachment in an attempt to annul the impact of all attachments.
One allows oneself to experience what it is to be a human. One doesn’t glorify or invite pain…. but one does not shy away from expressing those emotions that are appropriate to be expressed.
One can then assume the poise of a sanctioner by exercising a conscious choice to temper one’s expression of emotions that tend to be volatile and intense. This is the poise of self-mastery. The self-mastery attained through the poise of consciousness enables one to be a true enjoyer of life. One savours life as the play of Divine intent.
Be a Child of the Divine
The role lovingly assigned to one is to be lived in the spirit of being a child of the Divine.
Stay anchored to the love of that Source that moulds each as a particular instrument to its own purpose. As one surrenders at this alter of Divine Love, one witnesses a flowering of hitherto unknown capacities from within.
By detaching oneself from the small frontal personality and by opening to the Source of all Delight, one plunges into a realm of freedom from attachments.
There’s no pull of attachment as all belongs to ‘That‘ and ‘That’ alone is reality and one is but a little window through which ‘That‘ the fount of Divine Love and Delight is playing through.
Dr. Soumitra Basu’s session on ‘Detachment for a Greater Attachment’ unravelled the poise of viewing attachments and detachment as complementary poises although to the surface eye and understanding they seem as poises opposed to each other.
The nature of attachment at the level of the surface consciousness is such that it gets compellingly drawn towards its object of interest…. it enjoys the initial relish it offers but soon gets bogged in an ego-centric environment that is hostile to the very survival of relationships.
The way out of entanglement lies in the ability to bring in the poise of detachment to attachments lending to it a space, an infusion of a vastness, a gentleness that can truly nurture relationships.
Attachments that thrive on a soil of unconditionality, a ripe understanding and respect for the other yield a sense of lightness and ease, unlike the nature of attachments that unleash stress due to an innate drive to control and dominate.
Cause of Imbalance and Disharmony
When the driving-force behind attachments is the voice of the mind, vital or the physical self, the ego-self-positions itself in the shadow region and functions from a plane of disharmony. The nature of the mind, vital and the physical that are oriented towards the surface consciousness lack the depth and latitude of a vision that’s truly large and beautiful.
Each of the three aspects may vie for supremacy…. the vital may shout its demand, the mind may thrust its opinion and what ensues can be detrimental to the wellness of relationships.
Dr. Basu shared the concept of ‘psycho-synthesis’ and shared the words of Robert Assagioli:
“We are dominated by everything with which our selves become identified, we can dominate and control everything from which we dis-identify ourselves with.“
When the strings of attachments are snapped by forces outside our control, too often it creates a sense of void and emptiness. Life seems to come to a grinding halt.
Re-orienting Our Attachment
Wisdom lies in reorienting our attachment to the highest aspect lodged within us, the Psychic. We find ourselves in an infinite path of openness and compassion when we identify ourselves with a Presence that is timeless, deathless and spaceless.
When we invite this Presence to be our constant companion, it can replace the ego and usher to life a balance and beauty of an inwardness.
A psycho-spiritual perspective alone can bring in the tempered understanding that the being needs.
The Importance of the Inner Realms
The inner realm that is constituted by the inner mental, the inner vital and the subtle physical is a plane of consciousness that is luminous and stands for vastness and is anchored in the light of the Psychic.
It’s the golden bridge that connects the surface self to the inmost being, the Psychic which is the Light within. Our governance has to handed over to the psychic…. as Sri Aurobindo declares…. one needs to invoke it, invite it to infuse one’s life with its luminosity, so that in coming forward it replaces the ego. It’s the Source that’s beyond and above the laws of impermanence.
The Mother on Weeding out Destructive Emotions
The Mother advocated a psychological approach…. an impressionistic one to create a psychological distance between one’s nature and the emotion itself. One can disengage oneself from a stubborn attachment to disempowering thoughts and emotions. Labelling oneself as a ‘depressed or angry person’ retards progress.
To quote The Mother:
“First consider all psychological movements as not originating in ourselves, but in the Universe.”
It helps to dis-identify with the negative emotions and opens the possibility of refusing entry with a vigilant awareness to such strains of negativity.
It also requires the sincerity of self-observation to know the shadow element or attitude within oneself that attracts such negative energies.
The Witness Poise
Cultivating the witness poise is an essential in this journey. It helps to position oneself as an observer and in a compassionate unswerving awareness take cognisance of the patterns of thoughts, acts and emotions to which one is attached to and make conscious choices in awareness to walk into a newness that opens doorways to wellness, stability and balance. Detachment from attachments to movements and thought currents that exercise a binding influence on the freedom of the being to grow and progress is an inevitable step in the path of evolution.
Dr. Basu initiated an experiential session designed by Facault, wherein we arrive at the seat of pure awareness through the twin movements of affirmations and negation ….affirming as to who we are in essence, while acknowledging the presence and nature of the different aspects of our personality, namely the mental, vital and physical and subsequently through the movement of negation of what one is not, one arrives in the light of Truth that one is Pure Awareness.
Dr Monica Gulati’s session on ‘Purifying Love’ graphed the journey of an inner knowing to the higher peaks of consciousness where one becomes aware of a ‘Presence’…. ”the wisdom that knows and guides the world“….” a Truth gaze that “shapes its being and events”.
The session named and identified the obstacles in this journey…. originating from different centres of our being…. offsprings of the ego-bound consciousness that ultimately lead one into the snare of attachment, veiling the light within. Our lives are containers packed to the brim with our notions, desires, preferences, beliefs…. all clingy in nature. This container needs to be cleansed with the pristine waters of Divine Love and Presence if we are to live the purpose of our lives.
The ‘moving towards paradigm’ needs to be embraced; moving towards the fount of Divine Love needs to be considered as the inevitable step to disentangle ourselves from emotional knots. Life’s experiences if viewed in a positive perspective can take us to new thresholds, to new beginnings where one departs consciously from a life filled with distorted versions of truth.
Aspiration & Rejection
These are the twin movements in succession that fuel the being’s journey towards an assent. In the presence of the “jewelled-fire” of an aspiration, our vision acquires clarity and rejection of all that’s opposed to the wellness of the being becomes natural.
Space for Stillness
When the waves of emotions lose their strength in the face of an inner discernment one gets grounded, a stillness births in the being, paving the way for our true selves to emerge. The voice of disharmony and dissent is replaced by the voice of stillness and silence.
A mind in silence can be a receptacle to higher forces to enter, unlike the mind that is filled with the cacophony of endless disruptive thoughts.
The Light that enters in this silence can manifest itself as a luminous guiding Presence. The mind thus transforms into a guiding principle that can guide the vital and the physical to stay aligned to one’s aspiration and will.
A Homecoming & Identity of consciousness
Mother repeatedly refers to the heart centre as the safest place. One needs to direct the threads of concentration to the heart centre… in the nature of a homecoming.
Stationing one’s consciousness in the depth of the heart showers one the experience of connecting to vastness and the light of Truth, whereas a consciousness that identifies itself with the ’brain-lodged mind ‘, ironically thirsts for attachments that stifle, as it pitches its tent in narrowness.
The Need for Acclimatisation
Patience and perseverance are essentials as we acclimatise to higher altitudes of consciousness.
The journey needs to progress in a loving awareness, without a demand for immediacy in results.
The ascent needs the assent of the whole being.
One needs to reorient one’s relationship to the inner domains and the Light within.
The movement of the Descent is the flow of Grace, Light and Love.
Peace, calm and stillness can be felt in a tangible way.
The downward movement of Grace effectuates the power of transformation.
A wideness envelops the being, the journey gathers momentum in soul moments, resulting in the organic flowering of capacities, poises that stand stall and one breathes with God, breathes in the purifying air of Love as one becomes a wide channel of this purifying Love that flows through the being.
Dr. Alok Pandey’s session‘Transforming Attachment’ addressed the dilemma that perpetually arises regarding the very purpose of creation, and the advocacy of detachment as the ultimate poise to be embraced, given the natural inclination of the human heart to nurture and nourish itself through the bond of attachments.
It provided the light, a clarity by touching on two very important aspects.… that detachment does not imply a negation of life and secondly the possibility of transmuting the natural bonds of attachment into true spiritual light.
The Two Operating Systems
There are two operating systems that steer the wheel of life…. one is in ignorance and the other is in knowledge.
The Ignorance-bound Journey
Sri Aurobindo’s insight that, “Attachment is egoism in life “, nails the root cause as to what sullies the beauty of relationships. One needs to detach oneself from the dragnet of the ego-bound consciousness.
The hunger of the ego-bound consciousness is satisfied with the meagre crust of acknowledgments and praise. It has no ears for anything that is not in consonance with its expectations as it drowns itself in the “me, my narratives”. It journeys through desires in the highway of ignorance, exercising its authority, ultimately confining one in narrowness; all of life and its expressions are bound by the triple chord of the ego.
The Moulding Hand of the Three Gunas
The session mapped the relative imprints of the three gunas on the nature of attachments. The nature of the three gunas namely, Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas are mirrored in the quality and nature of attachments.
Tamas lends a sense of automaticity to relationships and expressions and imparts a mechanical touch by its propensity towards repetitiveness and habitual patterns that move in endless circles. Attachments to disempowering habits, attachments to calcified notions, crippling belief-systems and narrow perspectives are pointers to the tamasic influence on life. It resists change with an inexplicable stubbornness. Such is its attachment to sameness.
Rajas, on the other hand, tends to exercise a stifling grip in the name of attachment as it loves to consume, possess, cling to the object of attachment. It is attached to notions of aggrandisement. Attachments born of the Rajas have an imposing nature. It seeks instant gratification of senses. Such is the lure of attachments in the domain of Rajas.
Sattwa appears non-intrusive and draping itself behind the veil of contentment but stays attached to the soothing ambience of comfort-zones.
Each of the Gunas has a specific mode of expression and operates in a dimension bereft of wideness, plasticity and depth. It does not operate under the gaze of a conscious will.
Paradoxical as it may sound, the ego-bound consciousness that hungers for attachments may take a detour and find an egoistic solace in detachment when its expectations are not met.
The Shadow Side of Detachment
The idea of Detachment can also be a lure for the ego that has no place for vastness, or plasticity. Rigidity impinges the flow of life’s waters and one tends to tread the desert soil of barrenness.
Plasticity and fluidity facilitate one’s life journey undertaken with fellow travellers.
Detachment can also be the language of the ego…. a veneer under which lies raw untransmuted emotions.
The Psychic Guard
The ego has to be replaced by the Psychic Guard.
The role of the Psychic is inevitable in this journey as it deploys the consciousness in a space that allows fresh rays of light to filter, fresh streams of awareness that knows the beauty of attachments sans entanglements and the subtle poise of detachment that lends to attachments a gentleness, a gaze that respects the flowering of life in the soil of freedom.
It sings the anthem of freedom from self-glorification, freedom from opinions, freedom from the tyranny of victimhood and freedom from blind attachments that stifle and rule. In the presence of the psychic, the act of ‘letting go’ becomes an art.
It’s the psychic presence that allows one to listen to the voice of Swadharma and follow one’s true calling.
Secondly, desire has to be replaced with Divine Will. Sincerity of purpose and aligning the individual will to the Divine Will are essentials.
Equality that’s an attribute of the inmost self, confers the poise of seeing the One in the many as designated by Divine Will.
Sri Aurobindo speaks about the presence of ‘the true, the good and beautiful ‘ in the daily pilgrimage of life…. in light and love.
Attachments stand transmuted by the infusion of the Psychic influence and the Divine Will. What unfolds are perennial dawns that has no room for shadows.
The sessions, a journey in Light and Love, abounded with the bountiful grace of the Mother’s words:
“Let the waves pass away from you, carrying with them all attachments and weaknesses
The luminous joy of the divine consciousness is waiting ready to take their place “
The programme was attended by abut 25 participants
“I found each session informative and enjoyable”
“Yes, it was a very enlightening workshop. I enjoyed every session.”
“I have to practise what I have learnt. The way-out from attachment is to remain conscious always.”
“Experience-based learning and good examples from real life-experience by the speakers.”
“Thanks so much to you James and your crew and the exceptional Teachers: always very grateful.”
“Every instructor brought a toolset that was shared about overcoming attachment. These methods are amazing and I took notes and go back through them to apply.”
“Yes – these tools are so helpful. Was applying them each day as new ways were introduced. Seems that life provided opportunities daily to use the tools. Using the tools has changed my life tremendously. I found Dr Basu’s session life-changing for me because this life has so many challenges and, when using those tools, life becomes easier to understand. (I do use techniques from all the classes of these instructors.) I don’t get as stuck now that these things are happening to me and now see a collective consciousness often on the job and even at home. Life is much facile now. Thank you to all these instructors.