sprungtulips: This is a reblog from postmasculine.com…a self help site for men, very interesting articles!
Tag Archives: attachment
Beautiful and amazing post! You can feel the pain.
The behavioral economics lessons from my online course this week centered on motivation. This lecture mainly looked at motivation in the workplace, asking what, besides money, induces people to work, because the reward of money is not enough for an employee. The conclusion was drawn that people become more attached to things, tasks, ideas into which they put some effort into creating. Wow! I, being metaphorically inclined, immediately saw a connection to feeling invested in relationships.
Dan Ariely, my professor, describes this phenomenon of increasing fondness and attachment for an object through being involved in the effort of creation as “the IKEA Effect.” He has shown that people tend to value and esteem things they made even when the process is perceived as negative or the created product is of poor workmanship. Through effort, value and meaning increase.
This idea of effort leading to attachment does ring true to me on many levels. I felt like I put a lot into my relationship, so when we broke up I felt all sort of pain. I thought things like: “What a waste of time!” “I gave him so much and look what he does!” So much of breaking up was about detaching myself from the relationship, letting go of ideas, thoughts and attachments of all kinds. I had been willing to work, to put in effort and so I was the one who was most attached…I was willing to love that imperfect man and nourish our imperfect relationship because I was invested in a relationship I was helping to create.
Did I put too much effort into my relationship, leaving not enough for my partner? Am I too independent and self-motivated that no one perceives how to put effort into me? I ask these questions rhetorically, knowing they are not exactly the right questions…but intriguing to consider if that is possible.
When Ariely casually made a glib comment that tasks should “play hard to get” to keep us motivated to work on them, I had a shocking realization. I finally had a clear explanation of that little relationship game of playing hard to get which I have often refused to do! When someone “plays” hard to get, the other has to extend more effort to win a date or a kiss! Hence, the love of the chase!
Now, as I wrote this, I wanted to put a woman and a man in those roles respectively because this is how it has been described to me…men love the chase, so women have to play hard to get. But here are two questions; (1) If men are motivated by the effort of the chase, what is the great motivating effort of the women? and (2) how does this play out in homosexual relationships? During my recent break-up, my mother, in an attempt to help me, asked if I had ever considered if I were a lesbian. And (alas?) I am not. Perhaps if I were, I could be the chaser, and it would not be to my detriment. This is not about men and women, but it is about masculine and feminine.
So let me throw a wrench in the equation. This way of looking at things conflicts with some of my newly-tapped-into philosophical wisdom. From reading the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, various Buddhist texts, and the material from the School of Practical Philosophy, I am learning how attachment leads to suffering! As I just mentioned, breaking up was painful, and probably because of my attachment.
So, now my challenge, my journey seems to be to learn to love while remaining detached; to be attached only after becoming conscious that I am already detached; to be yin and yang, feminine and masculine, both the receptive and the pursuing!
Playing hard to get intentionally to tease and entice a man seems incredibly manipulative. This is not the way for me. I do not believe all men require the chase, nor do I believe women must act demure in order to find love. However, I am a go-getter in many ways, tending to take charge and lead. My dad taught me to just go ahead and do something when you see it needs doing! In this modern world, women are losing touch with their feminine qualities and men are being emasculated as we all try to balance these two elements. It would be a game, a trick to simply act demure, whereas being demure could be honest if we have reclaimed the feminine principle truly. Setting out to accomplish a goal, even bagging a man with “feminine” wiles, is still, at it’s heart, accomplished with masculine energy. As long as I am trying to get something from a man, I will be competing with his masculine energy and negating my own feminine side. How do I remember my femininity? What form can effort take that draws on this more gentle, receptive energy? There is more to The Feminine than I realize, than we realize- so, let us all open up to how to reclaim the yin in this yanged-up world. Cheers!
Leave a comment | tags: attachment, behavioral economics, Buddhism, chase, dan ariely, effort, feminine, femininity, hard to get, lao tzu, love, masculine, masculinity, men, money, motivation, school for practical philosophy, Tao, women, yang, yin | posted in Relationships
Recently, I have been reading the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. A theme of integrating seeming opposites pervades: yin and yang, emptiness with the material…similar dichotomies come to mind, such as desire and action, and of course, being and doing.
As I meditated this morning, I had many thoughts arise which I remember even though I was actively letting go of them per my practice. These thoughts concerned my past attempts to meditate and how I seem to get it now. It seems to me that I was not ready for meditation when I tried it in high school; there was no desire or need for it and it upset an established way I operated which I did not want to disrupt.
My Mind has dominated me for a while. I have striven to be more knowledgeable, more educated, more rational, even more open-minded…and it has gone too far. My mind had usurped my self-control. I had forgotten how to just be, and was beginning to forget how to do (making decisions was hard now)…but what I was good at was analyzing.
I was self-analyzing, analyzing other people, analyzing any and all problems, analyzing for fun, analyzing when I was bored…basically, I was analyzing myself away. I lost touch with my inner self, the calm, still, observing self.
My Mind had gotten too large so that there was no room for my Body’s needs, my Heart’s needs…and no ability to see all of these as parts of myself. Without being able to see all of myself, I was not able to begin my work to let go of needs and connect to the inner peace I now feel I have. Mind was not kept in check and balance, so I wasn’t in balance…and so now my practice is very important to me. It is hardest for my Mind to grasp what We are doing with our practice, and it fights against the new parameters I had to create.
My journey is good…my struggle is good. I now feel I can be, do and sometimes analyze with proper attention and control. That is pretty amazing!
Dear troubled Mind,
I have been once again watching you think yourself into knots and traps of your own making. You are trying to learn to be more aware of what you think, but there is no rush to get it right. You have always striven to be the best student, but you are too hard on yourself. It is ok to do things in the order and at the pace at which they need to be done. You have committed yourself to improve your powers of attention as We increase our awareness of Our Self and Our loving nature.
Remember, Mind, We are in this together and you do not have to do it alone. Trust in us, and relinquish your belief that you are more right, relinquish your pride. If I may suggest, try to stop and listen before shouting out an answer. You are just a beginner at this kind of mindfulness, so there is no need to pretend to be an expert. No one is fooled by you here. You have read about this and you have studied this quite a lot, but you have not practiced it yet, in truth. So be humble, and listen, observe.
Both Heart and you, Mind, have many tendencies towards egoism. You want your issue to be the center of attention, and you can be quite demanding and petulant about getting quick results. This just reminds me of how much you need to learn, but I am still new at practicing compassion to you. I apologize for trying harder to cultivate compassion for people outside of me, rather than for all of Me. [Side note: I used “me” to show that when I experience separation of self and others in a very concrete way, I have not acknowledged the unifying “Me” to which all of us belong.]
We have all agreed we want to be free of attachment, but we have not fully defined what this means. Heart wants to be free of the pain that accompanies believing We need to be in a defined love relationship to this other person; Mind wants to be free of the negative (i.e. untrue) stories that spring up so easily from speculation and expectation; Body wants to be free of the worry that no one will love it if it does not conform to societal standards of beauty; and, as for My Self, I would like to practice being free from My attachment to Heart, Mind and Body more and more, so as to connect with the stillness.
Sitting here now, calm and peaceful, isn’t it easy to observe how much progress We all have made? How wonderful!
We can celebrate this moment and when another moment arises in which suffering again returns, which it inevitable will do, we can remember that we are not fighting suffering, but letting go of suffering. We can read texts that remind all of Us that there will still be suffering, but we do not need to fear it. Let’s recommend to Our Self, this passage from Lovingkindness, by Sharon Salzberg.
“[We] are brought up with the feeling that suffering is somehow wrong, or to be avoided. We get the idea that suffering is unbearable and should not even be faced.”
She tells us that the first step to develop true compassion is to accept that suffering exists. If we are are unable to face this fact, we will never be able to let go of our pain. Our beliefs limit us; they too are thoughts to which we get easily attached. If we have hold to our belief that pain is bad, than we inevitable cause ourselves to feel more pain, in the form of self-directed negativity in the face of our pain. We have become attached to our pain.
No wonder then, my darling Mind, that you have been struggling to let go. As you started to let go of certain thoughts, did you believe yourself to have gotten free? …only to struggle more and more, finding yet another belief holding you back. Perhaps you even thought you were going in the wrong direction because there just seemed to be getting more entangled? Did you even realize that you were getting frustrated with yourself and making up stories about doing something wrong?
This struggle is to be celebrated and commended because it shows how aware you are becoming! You have been confined by many, many thoughts, beliefs and opinions, unknowingly! So as you begin to truly know yourself, you are discovering more and more restraints which you will now be able to let go. You have witnessed how easy it is to be tricked into this almost invisible cage. I cannot help but be amazed at how easily we have been lulled into captivity where we feel safe and comfortable. We are living in the Matrix or on the set of the Truman Show.
So Mind, be easy, calm down, accept what happens, and keep up the good work! I know you are on your way to being compassionate with yourself as you keep letting go…the process is the end in itself.
Beautiful and haunting…makes me think for sure!
Amazing how hard it is to forget the past pleasure, but now it is accompanied with pain. May grief heal your sorrow.
My eyelids finally rested and gradually my eyes were comforted by the darkness. My body was finally about to taste comfort after lingering hours of frustrating attempts to fall asleep, but then I heard it. I heard my phone ring, it was 2 a.m. Slowly, I wrapped my fingers around my phone and with so much effort tried to open my somnolent eyes. I saw his name and all the questions in the world raced through my brain, and for a second the only thing I heard were my heart beats. What could he possibly want at this time? Was he trying to ruin all the efforts I’ve put into deleting every second of happiness I’ve breathed while in his arms, every tear of sadness that burned my soul, every heartbeat that emphasized that I loved him more than I could love anything or anyone ?
A simple text that…
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