Are Your Attachments Causing You Pleasure or Pain?

Written by Joan Hyman

Pleasure or Pain? If you've ever studied the Yoga Sutras of Pantajli, this question continues to arise. The path of a yogi is learning to break our attachments so we are living completely in the present moment. You can define attachment as anything or anybody that will create a sense of suffering if you were not to have it. Attachments can create pleasure or pain.

Let’s look at our yoga practice---this can be a healthy attachment. However, think of how you feel when you can’t get into a particular pose, when the teacher does not show up at the last minute and there is an unexpected sub, or when someone next to you is breathing too loudly and sweating on your mat. Do you get cranky? I know I do! The key is learning to make the best out of every situation.

Even if your practice is a five minute meditation, it’s amazing how far that energy can carry you. 

Attachments take us out of the present moment, which causes a disconnect to our flow. The first time we experience anything, we are usually completely in the moment and digesting it fully. It’s in desiring that same experience that we begin to lose our flow, because our mind is elsewhere, and we are no longer in the moment.

Attachments limit us and feed our ego. The ego loves to attach and gain a sense of power and control. Think of our existence as a great beautiful beach and our ego is like a pebble rolling around trying to find a place to cling to, the call its own.

This creates suffering, because it limits ourselves and we forget we are this beautiful existence. Our worlds become smaller and more self- centered when we are living from a shallow ego. The dialogue within us can sometimes be not the most positive and we become fixated on flaws.

These conditions exist in the layers of the mind and create a lack of fulfillment deep with in our souls. When we practice yoga and meditate, we move away from these limiting beliefs because we are focusing on one steady point and moving away from the negative.

When we learn to feed this positive side of ourselves, we begin to live more with in our flow and trust our needs will be met so our cravings will diminish. 

As a yoga teacher, I deal with the ego all the time. It shows up on our mats and it’s important to understand our reactions to situations, which will uncover a fragile ego and any attachments. I have seen many practitioners leave class when a challenging pose comes up because thhe ego brings up the flaws that have been stirred up in our life. We learn through maturity and practice, everything is constantly changing.

There are days when we feel great and there are days when we are in our shadow and not feeling so good about ourselves. The ego will define itself by results and attach to a piece of something.

When we are living as a whole, we learn to accept our light and our darkness and be more present to the effort and gain from the process, not the results. Too much effort is usually filled with lots of ambition and ego driving to get something done.

We need a sense of ego to live in this world, and we need to have desires so we can create a life we want. It’s the attachments that hold us back, because they are take us out of our flow and our connection to our more authentic self.

People will come into your life and you will love them deeply, at the same time they will flow out of your life because this is how the river of life works. 

So ask yourself, if you didn’t have this person or thing in your life right now, could you be happy? Where is your happiness and sense of self coming from? These are deep questions to ponder and will help us stay in the process of life more and not jump ahead to the outcome.

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