Snares and Attachments
Having posted enough semi-political entries of late to last me quite a while, it's time to return to reflections on living.
Among other topics, I've been pondering the many snares and attachments that can prevent us from finding fulfillment in life. Classic snares include fame, status, money, power, and pleasure: the great wisdom traditions have warned us about these for thousands of years. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that we can get attached to a much wider array of things in life:
- Possessions. Even if you don't have great wealth, you might become attached to the stuff you own. However, as an uncle of mine used to say, "it's just a thing."
- Looks. This one applies especially to the beautiful people of the world, whose appearance is their ticket to success. (Yes, lookism is real.)
- Health. It's important to take care of your health and be physically fit, but you can go overboard with exercise, diets, supplements, and the like.
- Youth. This is similar to both health and looks, yet I see it as a separate snare, especially in a youth-oriented culture like America.
- Accomplishments. Ordinarily, your achievements are something to be proud of, but some people get overly attached to them (consider someone whose teenage athletic accomplishments were quite impressive, but who still dwells on them 50 years later).
- Dreams. This could be seen as the opposite of accomplishments, since you are focused solely on what you might accomplish in the future.
- Ancestry. Isn't it sad when you hear about someone who has a famous ancestor but hasn't done much with their own life?
- People. Although folks don't talk much about co-dependency anymore, it's all too easy to get involved in unhealthy relationships, even with people who are quite distant from you (such as obsession with a famous movie star or musician).
- Opinions. You don't have to be a member of a cult or movement to allow your identity to be bound up with your beliefs.
I'm sure there are more where those came from! I might dig into these more deeply over the coming months...
(Cross-posted at philosopher.coach.)
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