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Undoing the Knot of Emotional Attachments

True letting go has a starting point, and it is within.

But if I want to let go of something, that means I’m holding onto it… but why?

I’m holding on because of an attachment.

So letting go means identifying and releasing mental and emotional attachments.

All tied up in knots

Attachments are like knots and resistance makes them tighter and more tangled.

Resistance is anything that activates the attachment. Something or someone leaving your life when you weren’t ready could trigger it. But it doesn’t always have to be extreme. Just the thought of change can be enough to rile up an attachment.

An attachment says, “I like this and it can never change!”. But change seems to be the only guarantee we get on this ride.

So at some point, my attachments will come up against change but my resistance to it will tighten the knot.

Letting go doesn’t mean deleting old photos or something like that (that comes later).

Letting go is first working to unwind the knot within and release it. The best way I have found to do this is with mindfulness.

Follow the breath all the way home

Building the energy of mindfulness is easy, but sustaining it takes practice. That is why if you don’t have a mindfulness practice, I would encourage you to start one. It doesn’t even have to involve formal meditation.

You can do almost anything and make it a mindfulness practice. It just means doing something with your full engaged awareness.

But for the sake of speed and ease, here is a powerful way to generate the energy of mindfulness in just a few minutes. All it requires is something you are already doing all the time. Breathing.

So, when you feel upset about some sort of change, that is a triggered attachment. Instead of lingering on it, stop and shift your attention to following your breathing.

Bring all your attention to your inhale. Feel the air pass through your nose and fill your lungs. Try to let your stomach expand.

Breathe out slowly. Feel the lungs emptying and the air flowing out through the nose or mouth. Feel your stomach gently contract and pull inward. Then repeat until you feel your awareness has fully enveloped your breathing.

If you get distracted by a thought, notice it and let it pass. This might happen a lot at first, but try not to get irritated because it’s normal.

Getting mad at the mind for thinking is like getting mad at water for being wet. It’s just its nature. It’s not a sign of failure.

Keep letting the thoughts pass and come back to the breath. The mind will calm on its own the longer it’s left alone.

Aim awareness at the knot

After you feel like your awareness is engaged and anchored into the breath, you can now take it and aim it at something else.

Awareness is like a flashlight, and anything under that light will reveal itself. It’ll heal, grow, and evolve.

When I do this, I aim my awareness at the attachment that refuses to let go. Sometimes this manifests as pain or tension somewhere in my body. When it does, I aim my awareness at that spot and focus until the tension dies down.

Other times that friction is just an overall feeling and pointing my awareness inward is enough. Either way, I focus on the discomfort or pain the same way I followed the breath.

Mindfulness has energies primed for healing that are built into it. So holding mindfulness on a thought or feeling is enough to start the healing process.

When I’ve found the attachment (which I envision as a knot), I’ll ask it, “Why have you formed in me?”.

The answer I get back is almost always the same. The knot formed from some rigid desire I have - my resistance to change.

Undoing the knot

So I found the attachment and learned a little about it, but here is how I resolve it.

Still holding my awareness of the attachment, I can ask it, “What do you need so you can heal?”. The answer I often get back is acceptance.

By the way, I know talking to yourself might seem a tad strange, but it helps get introspective. It gives my mind something to focus on and raises the chance of an epiphany finding me.

Anyway, my understanding of the knot showed me it exists because of my resistance. Using mindfulness to figure that out loosened the knot a bit. My acceptance, will be what unravels it.

As I do my best to accept the change that triggered the attachment, the knot will open and what comes out can be surprising at first, but it’s just pent up emotion.

While the knot falls apart, so does this wave of feelings wash over me. This part is tough because it is easy to get overwhelmed, but if I maintain my awareness, then the emotions come and go.

As they come, it’s good to express it in some healthy way, like crying, writing about it, talking it out, exercising, or doing some art that reflects the feeling.

But getting overwhelmed in that moment will only push the emotion back into the knot, and the attachment lives on.

So when that emotion hits, and it will, I do my best to just observe it and let it pass. I try to let it flow through like I did with thoughts at the beginning of the mindfulness practice.

Quick recap for dissolving attachments

  • Build the energy of mindfulness by following the breath.
  • Aim that awareness within and towards the attachment.
  • Gain understanding of why the attachment exists (knot loosens).
  • Accept the change that caused the attachment (knot unravels).
  • Emotion flows out of the knot and through you.
  • The attachment fades because you removed the conditions that kept it alive.

By the way, this doesn’t mean you forget the painful change that caused the attachment. All this means is that you found peace with it.

This process may need plenty of repeating for the more impactful traumas in life. But each time, it gets easier, and the knot gets smaller until it’s finally gone.

Harmonize the outer with the inner

Lastly and finally comes the external environment. Now that the attachment is gone, I can harmonize my environment with how I feel on the inside.

This has to do with removing or cleaning up whatever was hanging around because of my attachment.

From my experience, letting go starts within, and when that work is done, then it’s good to reflect that externally if possible.

Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in Non-Fiction, Opinion Piece, Self-Help, Spirituality