Overcoming Attachments and Harmful Emotions


Feelings don’t always seem to follow logic. Through introspection, one can find the roots of his flaws - but simply acknowledging the real cause that brings forth these flaws does little to eliminate them. How can one get rid of attachments and desires which are rooted in the mind? Things like missing someone, feeling lonely — untrue to the reality that we’re all part of Spirit. Every time I try to renounce such feelings by not spending energy on them, they come back later stronger than before.

—Chris, UK


Dear Chris,

You have stumbled upon our soul’s greatest salvation and delusion, a true “both-and” paradox: our feelings! The Achilles heel of traditional psychotherapy is the assumption that merely intellectually acknowledging a fault or bad habit is, by itself, sufficient to re-direct the momentum and energy commitment of the undesirable tendency.

Just as a higher power and a higher awareness bring creation into manifestation, it takes a higher power and awareness to change the form of energy. This truth is not unlike splitting the atom: imagine a habit in respect to feelings of, say, loneliness, to be a quantum of energy formed into a particle by the intensity given to it by repetition and depth of feeling! To “split” that “atom” in order to release its energy so it can be re-directed into either just energy alone or other, more positive, forms, requires energy, not just observation!

Observation, too, however, is useful. While living in superconsciousness (samadhi) will surely wash away all lesser attachments and feelings, waiting to achieve that state is not practical. Achieving spiritual freedom is itself a process. Only rarely does it appear to be an instantaneous awakening. Thus, beginning by observing a pattern of sadness or loneliness is, in fact, a good start.

There is a useful expression: “awareness precedes control.” If you have a bad habit of eating junk food, the first step is to become aware of your habit and admit it! Nonetheless, more is needed than acknowledgement. When missing someone, or a feeling of loneliness comes back, don’t suppress or push it away. Doing so guarantees that these feelings, these commitments of quanta (energy), will rebound with greater energy because you used emotional energy to push or suppress it.

Instead, calmly observe the feeling; indeed, embrace it in the region of the heart, but not by succumbing to the emotions but by accepting it on its own terms without judgment or analysis. Simply accept the energy of the emotion in a calm and non-attached way. When after a short time you continue to feel calm, then take the energy of this feeling or emotion and “lift” upward to the spiritual eye (point between the eyebrows) as if placing this “particle of energy” on a high altar, offering it back to God, to your soul, to superconsciousness.

Do this as often as these feelings appear. At first you may find that you succumb to their emotional energy, but don’t give up. With practice you will be able to calmly feel, embrace and observe this energy: it’s just energy, just as all created things are manifestations of energy. And with practice you will steadily, perhaps even quickly, release this energy by offering it back to where it came: from God, from Infinity itself.

That which separates us from our soul (a spark of the Infinite flame of God’s love and joy) is the sum total of our commitments to desires, fears, and indulgence in our separateness. The primordial energy commitment to our separate existence is called kundalini. And it is the feelings of our heart which are given to people, objects, thoughts, memories, our body and personality (as separate objects) that tie us to delusion. The calming, or pacification, of our heart’s energies toward that which is not real (meaning not permanent) is what will release us into the Infinite bliss of God.

But it’s not because our feelings are dulled or suppressed. Rather it’s because our feelings are re-directed toward their Source: Bliss (the nature of our soul and the nature of God). I recite this yoga philosophy, this eternal truth, to help you see your challenges in the broader picture of our soul’s journey to true happiness.

Include God in whatever form or image or name you hold dear (Divine Mother, guru, Christ, Krishna, etc.) in the process described above and in the flow of energy and thoughts throughout the day, and you will discover the “truth that shall make you free” from limiting attachments and emotions.

Joy to you in every moment,
Nayaswami Hriman
Seattle WA USA