How I Understand the Process of Cultivating Away Attachments
(Minghui.org) Haven’t we all heard about ‘cultivating good habits’ or ‘cultivating friendships’? When I first got to know about Falun Dafa I learned that it is a spiritual practice where you cultivate your mind and body. I understand that this means cultivating or building the good things that are part of you and eliminating all the negative things.
A Close Look at Giving up Attachments
Seventeen years back when I was introduced to Falun Dafa, my understanding of ‘attachments’ was like most people. I thought of attachments as a craving for delicious food or the desire for acquiring material things or accumulating wealth and assets. But Falun Dafa turned my concept of attachments on its head. Reading the book Zhuan Falun and Master Li Hongzhi’s other teachings, it dawned on me that life and living was basically interplay of all our attachments strung together.
Have you ever thought about your anger or jealousy being an attachment? How can an emotion be an attachment, you might ask. Well, take a good look at yourself when you are angry. Doesn’t it take time for you to cool off? It becomes apparent that the anger is attached to your body or self and only when you let go or cool off will your anger get dissolved.
Or take the instance of the emotion of ‘jealousy’. You might be envious of someone who is doing well or someone who has material possessions, social status and good looks which are beyond your reach. Doesn’t the jealousy consume you to the point that you might start cursing someone or complaining that life is very unfair to you? Only when you can let go of jealousy you will feel lighter in body and mind. Your attachments manifest in your life’s many emotions.
Looking within is a part of our cultivation. By 'looking within' I mean making an effort to locate our various attachments. Some people might look at it as introspection. But I feel it is more than introspection. It is the courage to expose your every attachment, even the ones that have become second nature to you and a part of your personality or character.Initially, the very act of looking within and bearing your attachment seems daunting. But if you make Falun Dafa cultivation a way of life, spotting your attachments becomes like a challenge and cultivation becomes more engaging and a fruitful exercise. A thing that you need to make note of is that very often you might let go or drop an attachment but it surfaces again in a way to challenge you and if you are firm in your resolve to eliminate that attachment, it will have already lost some of its power to ensnare you. You soon realize that cultivation is for your entire lifetime and as you cultivate there will be as many attachments exposed right till the very end.
Attachments Are Countless
Attachments seem to have a character and life of their own. They can be deep rooted, big or small, visible on the surface or hidden. Some have a way of popping up to the surface and you become aware of it. Many attachments are exposed in different situations and sometimes through interactions with people. Someone might say something or provoke you to expose the attachment.
When you become aware of the attachment you can identify it and work towards eliminating it or let go, or you can close yourself off and deny the attachment and not advance in cultivation.
I try to look within and be aware of my attachments every day. But very often I can’t see any of my attachments. Then I suddenly realize that ‘complacency’ is also an attachment and I need to wake up.
Or often I have thoughts that I don’t have the attachment of ‘jealousy.’ Then I look within and realize that I do compare my life with the easy-going lives of other people with fewer responsibilities and if that is not envy, what is?
Also, one attachment that keeps recurring in my life almost every day is the attachment of ‘irritation and anger’ due to poor infrastructure facilities, indifferent attitudes of people, or things not falling in line with my kind of thinking. Most people would consider it a normal reaction. But as someone who is cultivating, you must be aware that all these unpleasant factors are trying to trigger your irritability or anger. It is up to you if you want to react by ranting and raving and losing your cool or keep calm and tide over the situation. Very often when you keep your calm, your irritation and anger levels will drop and you will be proactive and the situation will sort itself out.
Regarding attachments that I see in others when I look around, yes I see some within myself, too. For instance, obsession with one's family’s future, being finicky about cleanliness and putting everything in a certain order, discussing TV shows and politics, obsession with acquiring more information and knowledge or going to great lengths for looking good … the list can be endless.
So I will continue to play my life-long game of hide-and-seek with my attachments, find my attachments and eliminate them to improve and liberate myself through cultivation.
This is my current understanding. Please point it out if anything is not in accordance with the Fa.