Attachment- is it the cause of suffering?

Attachment – is it the cause of suffering?

In Insight and Self Awareness by Lisa FisherLeave a Comment

Both pleasure and pain can be found in the bonds of human attachment. Is attachment really necessary?


Attachment. For humans it’s the greatest cause of comfort, but also the greatest cause of heartache. It fills the gap of emptiness, makes us feel not so alone in this big, wide world, helps us feel confident, in control, less scared and not alone.

Attachment is an interesting concept and part of the human experience. As humans, attachment fulfils a need to feel validated, not so lonely and not so scared. We cling to the notion of belonging to other people, by feeling like we belong to a place, by having things to own. Most of all it makes us feel wanted and loved.


Look at the language we use. This is my brother/sister. This is my son/daughter. The use of the word my indicates ownership but you can’t own a person, nor should you. We don’t realise that we only belong to ourselves. We experience life alongside other people but we are in fact alone.

When we have the understanding that we are with each other merely to learn and share experiences, that we travel through life together but do not belong to each other, we can start to trust and enjoy the journey and accept that the parting of ways between two souls is natural, inevitable and happens when it is meant to.


Every conceivable soul on earth is here singly. We spend our lives with people, yes, but do they belong to us? No. Your mother is not actually your mother. Your mother is a label given to the soul that birthed your human experience. The continued relationship with her is for learning, development, growth and understanding. We have a human experience of nurture which serves a purpose for her and for yourself.

Depending on what you chose to learn in this lifetime, the relationship will make you feel loved or not loved. Cared for or neglected. Included or rejected. And we can feel at times all of the above.


A meeting of two souls is no accident but it is important to know that in this union, in the joining of two souls, there need be no attachment. The heartache comes because we cannot see that we are individual and don’t belong to each other. In death we feel heartbroken and a real sense of loss. This is a human reaction due to attachment. They were never yours to lose.

Grief is a normal reaction to the loss of another human. But how long we grieve and the severity of that grief can be significantly impacted by our attachment to the other person. The union between two souls has an expiry date and we are not in control of how and when that occurs. Someone is always left behind and it isn’t up to us to decide if someone’s passing was in the wrong way or at the wrong time. As humans we feel cheated, wronged and even guilty. We had the pleasure, now the pain.

So let’s look at our attachment to things

We have a home. It’s a place that we live in order to survive the human experience. There is a reason we are called occupants of a house. We are merely occupying a space in time at that location. We may own it or rent it and we spend a lot of time there. We pretty it up, we buy nice things. We put up photos of those humans we call family or the places we have been to. We renovate and rejuvenate and make memories there and in the process we get more and more attached. On the subject of memories, what about photographs?

Photographs are extremely treasured keepsakes. Don’t worry, I have plenty too. These simple captured moments of time are often one of the most poignant items of attachment. They are the one thing everyone says they would take with them in an emergency. The one thing that is irreplaceable.

However, they really are only significant because of your attachment to the people in the photographs. You have captured another soul’s single moment in time, or perhaps your own, but the moment has already lost its significance – it’s over, gone and is only relevant to that moment in time. Have you ever picked up a photo of a deceased relative you have never met? The photo has some historical significance but not much more as there are no emotions attached. Sadly yours won’t mean anything one day too and you can’t take them with you.

Understanding and recognition

So how do we address this little issue of attachment? Do you want to start being comfortable with the idea of it?

The first step comes in the understanding of what it is, it is the recognition of the emotions we attach to people, places and things. The second step is to discover a life of minimalism, less is more. As humans we are way too attached to things and we don’t need half the things we have. Examine how significant your things really are and why they really are so important? How important would they be to your relatives after your passing?

The third step is to embrace spending time alone. Being alone is lovely and is a great opportunity to get to know who you are. It is empowering. We have learnt that to function we have to rely on other people and that our happiness comes from others. The enjoyment comes when you learn that you are having your own individual experience. It is magical and amazing.

We often feel like we wouldn’t be able to cope, that we need another person to survive but the more you spend time alone you will come to know your own power, your own ability. I am not suggesting separating from a partner or disconnecting from family and friends but I am suggesting that it’s OK to enjoy your own company. If you aren’t so attached you can be free and accept life as it occurs both in the pleasure and in the pain.

About the author

Lisa Fisher

Lisa is a Melbourne-based writer and intuitive Reiki practitioner.

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