The Root of Suffering
The Buddha once proclaimed attachment as the root of all suffering. It’s a timeless truth, but one that often leads to misunderstanding. The path to liberation is not preconditioned by abandoning daily life, relinquishing belongings, and retreating to secluded mountain sanctuaries. Such responses merely exchange one form of attachment for another - the attachment to non-attachment.
The journey towards true freedom is traversed not through action but inspection. It's not attachment to anything specific which ensnares us; it's our attachment to the attachment that forms the shackles. We are bound not by possessions but by how deeply they intertwine with our sense of self.
Consider health, wealth, or relationships. Neither inherently worthy nor problematic - until they become part of our identity. The emotional tremors elicited by their loss demonstrate the depth to which suffering’s roots have taken hold.
Yet perfect peace is eminently attainable, even within the midst of misery. Requiring not the slightest change in our behavior, simply a shift in perspective.
Seek not escape from problems here. The world was made that problems could not be escaped. [Return instead to] peace within the Heaven of your holy mind. (T-31.IV.2; W-pII.6.3)
The euphoric serenity of unconditional joy resides within the mind. An experience of which is blocked only by our attachment to attachments: the meaning we give everything. By looking with gentleness, and without judgment, at how tightly we cling to significance, awareness is returned to the realm of love. Suffering instantly dissipates into nothingness.
Join me in Thursday’s class where we’ll explore our attachment to attachments, and practices for transcending its distressing grip. I look forward to seeing you then.