Further consideration of our attachments in life bring to mind the Buddhist view of how attachments cause stress in our lives. This speaks more to our attachment to worldly goods, our attachment to “how things should be” our attachment to our perceptions of situations, other people, and even our view of ourselves. Dr. Steven Hayes, developer of Acceptance & Commitment Therapy and author of Get Out Of Your Mind and Into Your Life, has said that suffering results from what we do to avoid emotional pain and our adherence to our own story. The first attachment Dr. Hayes refers to is the thinking we attach to something or someone that causes us pain. We work to avoid the pain that is aroused by those thoughts with denial, distraction, blame, even substance misuse. The second attachment has to do with our “adherence to our own story”. This is the story we have developed about ourselves or our position on a certain issue which we refuse to relinquish. Consider the following questions:
- When is the last time you knew you were right about an issue and wouldn’t budge?
- How about the last time you were sure it was the other person who had a problem and not you?
- What feelings did this kind of thinking bring up in you?
- What kind of resistance was created by the rigidity of such thinking?
- What if we let go of our attachment to how things should be or how people in our lives should behave, and simply acknowledge the loneliness, fear and disconnect we feel in our lives?
- Wouldn’t that be the most honest place to start?