I am continually struggling with this and sometimes I wonder if I'll ever really learn or get it right.
Once you start dating someone, the fires of desire are sparked and it's wonderful. It's so easy to get wrapped up in that and want more. It feels so good and we are so happy, we just want to exist in that state for as long as possible.
"Grasping at things can only yield one of two results:
Either the thing you are grasping at disappears, or you yourself disappear.
It is only a matter of which occurs first."
I've come to realize that becoming attached to someone happens so quietly and subtly that sometimes we don't really even realize it's happened, until the object of our attachment is suddenly gone. It happens in my mind ever so slowly... at first it feels under control and at some point, the idea of that someone you're attached to takes on a life of its own. You are thinking of them constantly - they start to consume your thoughts and your life.
"Desire can be compared to fire. If we grasp fire, what happens? Does it lead to happiness?
If we say: "Oh, look at that beautiful fire! Look at the beautiful colors! I love red and orange; they're my favorite colors," and then grasp it, we would find a certain amount of suffering entering the body. And then if we were to contemplate the cause of that suffering we would discover it was the result of having grasped that fire. On that information, we would hopefully, then let the fire go. Once we let fire go then we know that it is something not to be attached to.
This does not mean we have to hate it, or put it out. We can enjoy fire, can't we? It's nice having a fire, it keeps the room warm, but we do not have to burn ourselves in it."
I've also realized that I seem to attach in order to possess... not intentionally but it's been so long since I've been able to say something like "my boyfriend" that I crave it so much.
But in my case there is altruism mixed in with my attachment. I genuinely want to give love, to understand, to be a healthy source of love.
Perhaps I am denied this until I can understand it?
Otherwise I am doomed to repeat the same suffering over and over.
The 12 Steps of Liberation
1. The truth of suffering. We experienced the truth of our addictions – our lives were unmanageable suffering.
2. The truth of the origin of suffering. We admit that we craved for and grasped onto addictions as our refuge.
3. The truth of the end of suffering. We came to see that complete cessation of craving and clinging at addictions is necessary.
4. The truth of the path. We made a decision to follow the path of liberation and to take refuge in our wisdom, our truth, and our fellowship.
5. Right view. We completely see our life as it is. Our goodness is indestructible. We are willing to acknowledge and proclaim our truth to ourselves, another human being and the community.
6. Right thought. We are mindful that we create the causes for suffering and liberation.
7. Right speech. We purify, confess and ask for forgiveness straightforwardly and without judgment. We are willing to forgive others.
8. Right action. We make a list of all persons we harm and are willing and able to actively make amends to them all, unless to do so would be harmful.
9. Right livelihood. We simplify our lives, realizing we are all interconnected. We engage in active compassion. We select a vocation that supports our recovery.
10. Right effort. We acknowledge mistakes and relapse as part of the path. We continue to practice these steps with joyful effort.
11. Right mindfulness. Through prayer, meditation and action we follow the path of truth, being mindful moment by moment.
12. Right concentration. Open to the spirit of awakening as a result of these steps, we will carry this message to all people suffering with addictions.
In theory all these things sound so simple.
But matters of the heart are never simple, especially in such a desirous and emotional creature like myself. Please continue reading and I hope you can glean some inspiration too...
The following antidotes can be applied throughout daily life, but are profound meditation exercises as well.
ANTIDOTE 1 - Observe Yourself: Do I exaggerate positive qualities of things I am attached to, are they really worth all my troubles? Is it really worth to work hard for days, weeks or months to have an hour of fun?
ANTIDOTE 2 - Use Your Inner Wisdom: Discover how exaggerated attachment is and how desire works against oneself. Try to be wiser than the monkey and let go of the candy to be free.
ANTIDOTE 3 - Reflect on the Unsatisfactory Nature of Existence. This is also called the First Noble Truth. How much fun is fun really, and how much is it forgetting the pain? Do desires ever stop or is it an endless job to fulfil them?
ANTIDOTE 4 - Reflect on Impermanence. How important is the person or object: everything will end someday, people die, things break.
ANTIDOTE 5 - Reflect on the Problems of Attachment. Lying in the sun is great, but it quickly leads to sunburn. Eating nice food is great, but it leads to indigestion and obesity. Driving around in big cars is great, but how long do I have to work to enjoy this?
ANTIDOTE 6 - Reflect on bodily attraction (lust for sex). Loving someone is great, but what happens when the "honeymoon-days" are over? But what is the body really? What more is it than a skin bag filled with bones, flesh, disgusting organs and fluids?
ANTIDOTE 7 - Reflect on the Results of Attachment. Greed and craving lead to stealing and all kinds of crime, including war. Addiction to alcohol and drugs are simply forms of strong craving; they destroy the addict and the surroundings. Uncontrolled lust leads to sexual abuse. The feeling of greed, craving and lust in themselves can be easily seen as forms of suffering.
ANTIDOTE 8 - Reflect on Death. What are all objects of attachment worth at "the moment of truth" or death?
ANTIDOTE 9 - Emptiness. The ultimate antidote to attachment and all other negative emotions is the realisation of emptiness