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From The Way to Love by Anthony De Mello . . .
Each time you are anxious and afraid, it is because you may lose or fail to get the object of your attachment, isn’t it?
And each time you feel jealous, isn’t it because someone may make off with what you are attached to? And almost all your anger comes from someone standing in the way of your attachment, doesn’t it?
And see how paranoid you become when your attachment is threatened – you cannot think objectively; your whole vision becomes distorted, doesn’t it?
And every time you feel bored, isn’t it because you are not getting a sufficient supply of what you believe will make you happy, of what you are attached to? And when you are depressed and miserable, the cause is there for all to see: Life is not giving you what you have convinced yourself you cannot be happy without. Almost every negative emotion you experience is the direct outcome of an attachment.
So, there you are loaded down by your attachments – and striving desperately to attain happiness precisely by holding on to the load. The very notion is absurd. The tragedy is that this is the only method that everyone has been taught for attaining happiness-a method guaranteed to produce anxiety, disappointment and sorrow. Hardly anyone has been cold the following truth: In order to be genuinely happy there is one and only one thing you need to do: get deprogrammed, get rid of those attachments.
When people stumble upon this self-evident truth, they become terrified at the thought of the pain involved in dropping their attachments. But the process is not a painful one at all. On the contrary, getting rid of attachments is a perfectly delightful task if the instrument you use to rid yourself of them is not willpower or renunciation but sight. All you need to do is open your eyes and see that you do not really need the object of your attachment at all; that you were programmed, brainwashed into thinking that you could not be happy or you could not live without this particular person or thing.
Remember how heartbroken you once were, how you were certain you never would be happy again because you lost someone or something that was so precious to you? But then what happened? Time passed and you learned to get on pretty well, did you not? That should have alerted you to the falseness of your belief, to the trick your programmed mind was playing on you. An attachment isn’t a fact. It is a belief, a fantasy in your head, acquired through programming. If that fantasy did not exist inside your head, you would not be attached. You would love things and persons and you would enjoy them thoroughly but, lacking the belief, you would enjoy them on a non-attachment basis. As a matter of fact, is there any other way to really enjoy something?
Pass in review now all those attachments of yours. And to each person or object that comes to mind say: “I am not really attached to you at all. I am merely deluding myself into the belief that without you I will not be happy.” Just do this honestly and see the change that comes about within you.