The Buddha once said “to free yourself from suffering, free yourself from attachment.”
When we compare with others we suffer. It is inevitable. If we think that someone is better off, we suffer from envy or lust for what they have, even if it is not material things. For example, many live in an almost constant state of anxiety. When we envy those at peace, we suffer.
Addiction might be considered the archetype of attachment. Addiction is, in fact, a collection of attachments.
It is attachment to fear, attachment to loss, and attachment to longing, emptiness, and a lack of a sense of purpose. Whether we choose alcohol, drugs, sex, food, pornography, exercise or even shopping, we are simply employing the means serving the compulsion to fill a space and dampen our pain. If the same energy is directed towards appreciation for how life is for you right now, you are on the road to peace and self love.
My mentor, Dave MacQuarrie MD, has a mind-set that I have adopted.
“Maximum intention, minimum attachment.”
It is healthy to struggle forward with intention to heal, to be clean, to better oneself. But how often are you crippled by self-loathing when you don’t achieve the result?
With minimum attachment as a guide, if you fail to stop eating, or any attempts to not be addicted, you can let go of the comparison with those who are not addicted. Sure you may not have achieved the goal you set, but that is just a goal that can be reset. Continue with maximum intention towards your goal, and minimize the attachment to a simple or early positive result.
When we become slaves to our attachment, our mind, and our behavior, we lose the ability to exercise free will and may then slip into compulsion; and addition is compulsion from one aspect of our personality. It is not easy to let go, it requires choice, and ongoing struggle. You can’t do that and self criticism at the same time. That’s why sharing with others who understand helps. We get to see our attachments, and to accept our humanity.
This week I received an email which stated “I personally have struggled in the past with addiction and am proud to say that I am in recovery working my program one day at a time. Part of my recovery is giving back and helping other individuals struggling to overcome the same mental health battles that I have endured in the past. I now manage the Community Outreach team for an addiction support site, Addiction Group. “
There are many other resources available, the important thing is to find support to maximize your intention and minimize your attachment…
Focusing on how to maximize your positive intentions for relationships of love is a great place to start: