By Phortis Nespin
I have read many posts over the 2 years I have been with the Temple regarding the idea of “Attachment”. As with all things I do not understand fully, I look to a dictionary to first define the word itself. The following is the definition according to the Collins English Dictionary:
1. a means of securing; a fastening
2. (often foll by to) affection or regard (for); devotion (to) attachment to a person or to a cause
3. an object to be attached, esp a supplementary part an attachment for an electric drill
4. the act of attaching or the state of being attached
a. the arrest of a person for disobedience to a court order
b. the lawful seizure of property and placing of it under control of a court
c. a writ authorizing such arrest or seizure
6. (Law) Law the binding of a debt in the hands of a garnishee until its disposition has been decided by the court
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003
You will notice that there are many ways in which the word attachment can be used. Although these are the dictionary version of attachment, I wanted to find out what the word attachment meant psychologically. I found this definition online in an article on the About.com website:
“According to psychologist Mary Ainsworth, attachment "may be defined as an affectional tie that one person or animal forms between himself and another specific one – a tie that binds them together in space and endures over time." Attachment is not just a connection between two people; it is a bond that involves a desire for regular contact with that person and the experience of distress during separation from that person.”
I was still not satisfied by this definition, so I continued my search in an effort to convey how I really felt about “Attachment” in a Jedi way. With this thought in mind I had to come up with an idea of how exactly I would define Attachment so that I could search for a more “official” definition. I believe that for me, the idea of attachment had come down to simply this;
“Train the mind to understand that all things are impermanent , life as well as material goods, so that your consciousness will not be deterred from its quest to attaining full knowledge and understanding of the Force.”
As I stated, I was looking for a definition that would truly convey how we should live as Jedi believing in the Force. Almost as soon as I wrote the above definition, I turned back to my computer search engine and found the following:
'Compassion and love are not mere luxuries.
As the source both of inner and external peace,
they are fundamental to the continued survival of our species.'
His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama
The four immeasurables, also known as the Brahma Viharas (Skt.) are found in one brief and beautiful prayer:
May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes,
May all sentient beings be free of suffering and its causes,
May all sentient beings never be separated from bliss without suffering,
May all sentient beings be in equanimity, free of bias, attachment and anger.
The Buddha taught the following to his son Rahula (from "Old path white clouds" by Thich Nhat Hahn):
"Rahula, practice loving kindness to overcome anger. Loving kindness has the capacity to bring happiness to others without demanding anything in return.
Practice compassion to overcome cruelty. Compassion has the capacity to remove the suffering of others without expecting anything in return.
Practice sympathetic joy to overcome hatred. Sympathetic joy arises when one rejoices over the happiness of others and wishes others well-being and success.
Practice non-attachment to overcome prejudice. Non-attachment is the way of looking at all things openly and equally. This is because that is. Myself and others are not separate. Do not reject one thing only to chase after another.
I call these the four immeasurables. Practice them and you will become a refreshing source of vitality and happiness for others."
Attachment to materialistic items is unhealthy psychologically. It is the “EGO” that desires more and more, bigger and better “stuff”. This kind of attachment confuses and leads you away from the path with mindless and trivial desires. Attachment to others is redundant because we are already bound in to each other in the Force.
Attachment becomes unhealthy when we attach our egos and our wayward emotions to it. When we cannot accept the death of another, when we cause harm to another so that no one else can be with them, when we consider suicide as the answer to a loss, there will be suffering, anger, and bias. Do not be so attached as to force or cause harm to another or yourself.
I think I am going to define Attachment as “The unhealthy emotional and psychological state in which the ego desires complete and sole possession of another person or an object, to which they are willing to cause suffering within the Force.”
May the Force Keep You Safe and Guide Your Path!