For a few years now I have been kickin' around this idea of attachment. I've often thought that if I wasn't so danged attached, things wouldn't have to hurt so much when they fall apart. But, isn't attaching to others natural and good? Are we not intended to involve and invest ourselves, intertwine our lives and experiences with others? I've always thought the answer was a resounding affirmative.
"The fear of loss is a path to the dark side...attachment leads to jealousy. The shadow of greed, that is."
These words haunt me, as I have struggled with loss in my life. In the fictional Jedi philosophy, attachment is strongly discouraged. The reasoning is clear; emotional attachment clouds objective judgment (think of the classic image of Lady Justice wearing a blindfold). It would take the most disciplined mind to remain objective towards someone emotionally close, especially if there were many shared experiences between them. Naturally, we feel sympathy, empathy and care for our loved ones, thus clouding our decisions and conclusions. Practically, there is no way anyone can be expected to make an informed, objective or just decision when situations are swirling with passion, hurt, betrayal or anger.
I've seen attachment lead to jealousy; it can happen when healthy bonding and friendship easily morphs into selfish expectations, stubborn refusal of change or unwillingness to share what is prized with others (elitism). That would certainly be the shadow of greed - your way for your benefit and pleasure alone. Ultimately, greed is refusing to share what has been freely given, even though it wasn't deserved nor earned. Regardless of whether or not we are aware of our actions and motivations, rigidly holding onto our own expectations and desires to the exclusion or hurt of others is wrong and most definitely a path to the dark side.
"Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose."
As I think through this, I can see that healthy attachment isn't the issue. Loving family relationships, cherished bonds of long friendship and even regular acquaintances bring a sweetness and richness to our lives that gives purpose and meaning. No, it's not attachment that is the problem - it's the fear of losing those attachments that causes chaos. Considering the loss of something or someone that is dear, even that which defines us, causes us to hold on tighter than ever. Sometimes too tightly. Thinking that we can avoid pain and heartache, for us or others, by manipulating situations to suit our purposes can cause the very thing we are trying to avoid. Fear is so very powerful that it can easily cloud clear and objective judgments and decisions. Identifying that which we fear to lose may be the first step in gaining our footing and keeping ourselves healthy in our attachments.
Here is where faith steps into the picture. For me, letting go of control to a higher power is freeing and a place of rest. I believe that the Holy One is more than able and willing to guide my steps, comfort my hurts and most certainly has my best interests at heart. Knowing and acknowledging those facts, based upon Scripture, enables me, time and time again, to let go of all I fear to lose. For example, my children do not belong to me, they belong to Him. Therefore, even though I worry about them, I know their time, as well as mine, is in His hands. Losing one of my beautiful and beloved children would be horrific and traumatic, without question. But, because of my faith, I trust that He has their lives well in hand, for His purposes. I am blessed to have them in my life for as long as He directs, and it is this mindset that leads to an ongoing attitude of gratitude for the people and relationships in my life. In this seemingly simple way, I have 'let go' of the the fear of losing that which is most important to me. Oh, don't think it's not an everyday thought, because it is. But I know, for believers in the Most Holy G-d, fear is not something we are to dabble in freely, so says Scripture. I am diligently training myself to leave my fear, worry and human concerns at the feet of my Savior.
If you love something, let it go.
If it comes back to you, it is yours forever.
If it doesn't, then it was never meant to be.
The loss that I have suffered in my recent past has been difficult. Even before the separation happened, the thought of it was heart wrenching and difficult to withstand. I was certainly not trained or prepared to face the loss and it was definitely something I feared. The actual events that ripped my life apart are still echoing, without question. But, I have to affirm that everything happened for a reason and that my LORD is in full control. Just that admission and confession helps me to walk through the pain of loss and will help me the next time. Perhaps in this way I continue to train myself to let go of everything I fear to lose. I diligently want to let go of the fear of loss and enjoy and cherish, in a healthy way, all the beloved attachments that the LORD has given.
"The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you;
He will be with you He will not fail you or forsake you.
Do not fear or be dismayed."
“Fear is the path to the dark side.
Fear leads to anger.
Anger leads to hate.
Hate leads to suffering.”