Most people seek after what they do not possess and are enslaved by the very things they want to acquire.
"Those who are devoid of attachment, whose mind is fixed in knowledge, who does work as a Seva to the Lord, all Karma of such liberated persons dissolves away.
The Bhagavad-Gita (4.23)
There is no sense in crying over spilt milk.
people are sentimental, and keep pictures and mementos to remind them of good days. Others tend like to throw things away.
You've probably heard of different yogis and Buddha stories where they say you should have no attachments; you should delete your attachments. It almost sounds like something it says on your computer, email virus protection; "delete the attachment".
A lot of people don't know what is being asked of them. What removing attachments, means.
There's a really corny expression (I do use a lot of cliches sometimes!) that says:
"If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it's yours."
That really sums up the idea of giving up your attachment to something.
If you think something is really yours, then you're attached to it.
In the dictionary, one definition of the word "surrender" applies to real estate law. When part of a larger estate has been temporarily separated, leased or deeded, and the lease is up, the property is "surrendered" back to the owner of the large estate. The separation ends, and the smaller part is again merged with the whole.
I love that, it is such a perfect metaphor for the Kundalini process. Especially once Kundalini awakens, your life is no longer your own. You have had a lease on life, experiencing separation from the whole and the illusion of ownership; that is ego. When K. awakens, the lease is up. Anything you thought or pretended was yours, must be surrendered, given back to Goddess so that the experience of separation can end and you can once again be merged with the All.
With such real estate transactions, every fork, chair and tree is numbered and counted. Just as with your life, Goddess knows every thought, action and attachment. All must be surrendered, you cannot take it with you, into realization.
How to discover how much you are attached to something: how upset would you be, if you lost it?
Stuff; jobs, relationships, sentimental items, homes, cars, clothes, toys, ideals, hopes and dreams. Spilt milk.
It's not that all attachments are bad; commitments can be freeing, because once you commit to something you are free to follow it through to the end, you aren't being pulled in other directions by temptation. Jack of All Trades, Master of none: it takes commitment to become a Master. You could also make a commitment to become a Jack of all trades, of course,...
Some commitments are bonded in Nature... like parenting. Like great talent. The difference between these commitments and attachments, is that these commitments come from Goddess' Will. Goddess makes maternal instincts, and She is the Artist's Muse.
A committed parent is a good parent. An attached parent cannot be. We have expressions to describe it, "apron strings", or living vicariously through your children.
Would you donate a kidney to your teen aged child, if they needed it? That is a committed parent. Would you let your teen aged child dye their hair blue and get an eyebrow piercing? If you wouldn't, then examine your reasons. Likely they have a lot to do with how it would reflect on you. You have an attachment to an internal image of how your child *should* appear. Examine your fears.
Erase "should" from your vocabulary, it is a word of expectations and attachments. Expectations and attachments have a lot in common, we often are attached to our expectations! Notice when you use the word "should", it will show you what ideas and expectations you are attached to.
When we say "Give up your attachments", it doesn't necessarily mean you have to give away all of your belongings and become a beggar on the street.
If you're attached to something in your mind, hand it over to Goddess. Give it back to Her, and what that means is that you no longer own it, and you can enjoy it without fear of loss anymore.
Surrender, changes your perceptions. Try it, and you will see. The understanding, is experiential. You cannot understand it till you have experienced the shift of perception that comes of surrender. Try it now.
Think of something that you think is really yours. Visualize giving it away, give it up to Goddess in this way that I teach:
"Goddess please take this. It's a gift for you. Thank you very much",
...then distract yourself from it. Your attention to something is also an attachment to it: distract yourself by thinking of something else, so She can take it when you're not looking. Focus on your breathing. Focus on your tingly feet.
After a few moments, after you've taken a few deep breaths while thinking of something else, go back and look again at what you surrendered, in your mind's eye. You may still own it, in the physical but what you'll find is that you're seeing it completely differently.
Anything that you think is yours, is part of your Ego. The more of that stuff you can surrender, give back to Goddess, the more you're going to start to see the universe and your reality, your world, and the people around you with a Goddess-Eye view. The perfection and the beauty, the Divinity, and the power of who they are in the Here and Now, not in the future of your expectations of who you want them to grow into, and not in the past with your fears of how other people treated you.
It is not unusual for people on this path to lose everything, as they get closer to the light. That sounds dramatic and scary, but it happens. The doorway to the light is a kind of death. Not physical death, but ego death, and rebirth as an enlightened being. It is often preceded by a series of harsh life events that forcibly separate you from your attachments. A "tough love" act of mercy, Goddess takes away the attachments you cannot give up on your own. You can't take it with you.
This part of the process is seldom easy, but it can be lessened by a mindfulness of surrendering attachments. You do it persistently.
"If you love something, let it go. Set it free. If it comes back, it is yours. If it doesn't, it never was."
Anything you give up to Goddess is going to come back better, if it is meant to be yours. That's cosmic law.
It's all really that's meant by giving up attachments. It doesn't mean you necessarily have to divorce your wife or husband. You just have to, in your mind, let them go. Give them up to Goddess. Give your desires and expectations up to Goddess... and when you do that, you're really going to be able to see things more clearly. You're going to see a lot more beauty, and you're going to begin to see things and people for who they really are, not how well they measure up to some inner ideal you've been carrying around in your head.