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True happiness is the fountainhead of serenity and joy that hides in every human heart. It is what people everywhere are searching for and few find.
So why do so few find it? We’ve been taught by society to seek our happiness in outside things.
If you look carefully, you will see that the one and only cause of unhappiness is attachment. What is an attachment?
An attachment is an emotional state of clinging caused by the belief that without some particular thing or some special person or some hoped-for outcome you cannot be happy.
So that’s the first thing we need to understand if we want to come awake, which is the same thing as saying: if we want to love, if we want freedom, if we want joy and peace and spirituality. Understand the darkness that comes from attachments, and it will vanish. Then you will know what light is. Understand its nightmare for hat it is, and you will awake from the nightmare.
How is an attachment formed?
First, there’s contact with something that gives you pleasure: a car, an attractively advertised product, a word of praise, a desired outcome, or a person’s company. Then comes the desire to hold on to it and to repeat the gratifying sensation that the thing or person caused you. Finally comes the conviction that you will not be happy without that person or thing for you have equated the pleasure it brings you with happiness.
Think of someone gobbling up food in a concentration camp. With one hand, he brings the food to his mouth; with the other hand, he protects it from neighbors who will grab it from him the moment he lowers his guard. There you have the perfect image of the attached person.
An attachment, by its very nature, makes you vulnerable to emotional turmoil and is always threatening to shatter your peace. So how can you expect an attached person to enter that ocean of happiness called the Kingdom of Joy? As well as you can expect a camel to pass through the eye of a needle!
Think of the numberless persons and things that so excited you in the past. What happened? Most ended up causing you suffering or boredom—did they not?
Right now, click here and write down your attachments on the worksheet provided that you falsely believe you could not be happy without.
When you have your list of attachments look them over and consider how they have drained the beauty of life out of you. Spend some time seeing each thing you cling to for what it really is—a nightmare that causes you excitement and pleasure on the one hand but also worry, insecurity, tension, anxiety, fear, and unhappiness on the other.
You might think the dropping your attachments means renouncing the material world. Not at all. One uses the material world, one enjoys it, but one does not make one’s happiness depend on it. If you’re anxious from seeking or holding on to something or depressed about not yet attaining it, you can hardly be said to enjoy life.
What the dropping of attachments is offering you is not a withdrawal from enjoyment; it’s a withdrawal from possessiveness, from anxiety, from tension, from depression at the loss of something.