Human Spiritual Structure: Non-Attachment
Notes in progress © 1998-2002 Alan McAllister  

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This concept is central to a great deal of healing and spiritual work. It is the same as or closely related to neutrality, non-judgement, forgiveness, and all forms of letting go. In Tantric sadhana there are several processes that facilitate non-attachment, i.e. the yamas and niyamas, in particular Brahmacarya and Tapah. It is also the underlying key to true compassion.

These are all related to the ability to rise above the individual ego and the expanding the sense of I-ness beyond that existing in the conscious mind. This is the approach to mahat and the intuitional mind of atimanas kosa.

In Reiki work the more the practitioner moves aside and feels they are just a channel for divine energy, the better for all concerned.

In bio-feedback work it is often seen that when effort is reduced, or the practitioner "gives up", then it will begin to work. In general a focus on calm and a firm mental command for the body to be a certain way is the best technique. Any effort or sense of force will generally produce results counter to those desired. The subconscious mind is talked to politely and asked to perform the desired task. The tendency of "forcing" to move things in the wrong direct may be related to the strengthening of desires and thoughts that are repressed by the conscious mind.

Similarly in meditation any effort to force the mind to be calm, or to avoid thinking about certain things, is bound to fail.

In psychic work most of the techniques work best from a space of neutrality and effortlessness, which is very similar to the experience of bio-feedback practitioners. This is related also to that certainty which derives from leaving everything up to the Divine will [e.g. F.S. Shinn's works]. And so we have come around to surrender and devotion.

It seems probable that non-attachment and forgiveness are keys to the letting go of samskaras. In fact it may be that much of the energy that binds them is due to our attachment to them in one way or another. See e.g. the Zogqen discussion of Jyodba, or the application of contemplation to neutralize karma.


Attachment results when we identify with our thoughts, desires, or images of objects and people in the outside world. It generally leads to anxiety, worry, fear, as we are either concerned that what we desire will not happen or come to us, or that we may lose those things which have. This is the root cause of most mental imbalance and unhappiness in the world. It is also the process by which samkaras are formed and the ego is defined. [Y&P]

The root of this process is the vrtti kama, or physical desire, which includes self-preservation, procreation, hunger, and sleep. In satisfying these desires one forms attachments and addictions. It is in relation to these external objects that the lower emotions arise. [Y&P]

Since we have identified with them, we believe that we cannot be whole or happy without them. We have forgotten that our inner I is already whole. Attachments may show themselves in analysis through an interruption in (resistance to) the free flow of thoughts. It is the role of the therapist to point this out and help work through the attachment. [Y&P]

Similarly in meditation when one becomes involved with the thoughts, there is a break in the flow. In this case the mantra is what helps to extract us from the attachment. Becoming aware of our attachments is the first step towards moving to a more expanded point of view, allowing them to dissolve. The process of releasing the attachments at each level of progress is an integral part of spiritual growth. This process of expansion and integration is also a specific focus of re-birthing work. [Y&P]

Resistance to something (or somebody) is also a form of attachment, in which energy is expended to keep it away. We may even think that we are seeking the opposite, i.e. trying to be peaceful, rather than resisting anger. This is the way in which repressed memories or emotions are also a form of attachment.

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Last updated January 22, 1999. AHM.
© Alan McAllister

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