A lot of spiritual paths share the fundamental principle that to be truly happy we must let go of our attachments. At one level, this is true. The less attached we are to something, the less pain we are likely to experience if or when we lose it.
Interestingly though, when this principle is taken as belief (a limiting one, which I’ll explain)—without us truly integrating this principle, it sometimes shows up as a subtle judgment. A part of us starts to view attachments as being bad. Phrased differently, we start to believe that “spiritual” people shouldn’t have attachments, and that includes ourselves.
The thing is, when taken as a belief (rather than as a guiding principle), this itself is a form of attachment. It’s an attachment to the idea that not having attachments is better than having them. That may sound circular, and it actually becomes circular and self-limiting when we believe that we must "let go" of something to be happy. That’s because our egos naturally want to hold onto things.
Our egos want things to be safe, secure, comfortable, and unchanging. Therefore, even the mere mention of “letting go” can sometimes be challenging. Part of us knows we want to let go and part of us doesn’t.
Usually, our conscious mind is the one saying “I don’t want this anymore” while there’s a corresponding unconscious limiting belief that says “I will not let go and you can’t make me!”
I’d like to propose an alternative: What if you honored your attachments?
That might sound a little crazy until you consider the simple fact that these attachments came into your life for a reason. Whether you need them now or not, they served a purpose to get you this far in life. Therefore, honoring them actually makes a lot of sense.
Instead of trying to let go, instead be curious about the true nature of the attachment, whether it’s to a person, place, thing, or idea. If you notice yourself feeling strongly attached and you want to let go, take a deep breath, pause, feel it fully, and invite your curiosity.
How does this attachment feel? Is there any place in your body you feel it? How might it have served and supported you at any point during your life? How might it still be supporting and serving you?
In other words, the next time you feel like you shouldn’t be attached to something, the next time you want to let go of something, instead do the exact opposite: Go into it. Know it. Feel it fully. Dare I even say it…
LOVE your attachments!
Then, observe and be curious what happens as your awareness deepens into the very thing you want to rid yourself of.