This week's blog is on the second of the Karmal Sins - Desirous Attachment and Impermanence
There is nothing wrong with having stuff as long as stuff does not have us. The consumer market spends a lot of energy and money convincing us of the importance of acquiring things we do not need. Happiness is dependent on having our essential needs fulfilled. The law of "Three's" helps us to gain perspective. Spending time with hunter gatherers who only have these key essentials and seem truly happy can enlighten us.
We can live three minutes without oxygen to our brains, three days without water, three weeks without food and three months without company or human contact (before we get a bit spiritually and mentally disturbed.) If we add the basic essentials of modern living like a roof over our heads, transport, a computer and some sort of phone we should have it all but sadly it is never enough.
Desirous attachment is one of the faces of ego which always seeks to have more. More takes us further away from our true essence or higher Self. Ancient wisdom urges us to subordinate ego and attachment to the objects of our desire to the Self.
This "object "can also be fame, power or sex. Hillel also said; " in seeking fame ,honor will be lost; in seeking knowledge, wisdom is forgotten; and in ceasing to learn one ceases to live."
We all often think if only we just had a bit more we would be happier and when we get it we are not - except maybe fleetingly. In our present time when we have never had more, 50% of people are on antidepressants and the suicide rate is going up. Buddhism claims to be about true hedonism and happiness because it is not about having "stuff."
This says it all.
Furthermore, there are negative karmic implications to desirous attachment.
Yoga philosophy affirms that any action that is attached to an ego motive will buy us another lifetime. Charity for the sake of a tax deduction or getting our face in a magazine is still a good thing but it has no spiritual merit when we cross over to reconcile with our Book of Life.
The remedies are easy to understand though extremely difficult to do.
KISS or KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID goes a long way. Freeing ourselves of non essentials liberates our spiritual potential and makes us feel lighter. Do not buy into the hypnosis of materialism and planned obsolescence - put simply this is a huge con! Is a new I - phone really necessary each time one comes out? The mania resulting is sometimes reminiscent of the Israelites around the golden calf while Moses is on Mount Sinai getting the ten commandments. Attend to needs and not wants. The first need priority should be some form of regular, sustainable and enjoyable spiritual practice.
Tibetan Buddhists have the profound meditation of doing exquisite and laborious sand paintings of mandalas and then destroying them to emphasize the truth about impermanence. This does not mean that they are incapable of enjoying what is impermanent in fact the opposite. It enables them all the more to be in the moment with the beauty of it.