Questionnaire: Sir, Why expectation comes with attachment. And how attachment can be controlled?
Acharya Prashant: Sit. What’s your name?
Questionnaire: Jyoti Narayan.
AP: Jyoti. Question is “What is the relationship between expectation and attachment? And how can attachment be controlled?
Listener 1: Yes sir. Both.
AP: Both, of course, if there is a relation, one is the function of the other.
What is attachment? Out of expectations and attachment, attachment is the more basic thing, we need to understand attachment.
The brain is as such nothing. It is just a mass of cells, tissues. It has no sense of identity. Just as the hand, the flesh in the hand can have no sense of identity, similarly in its most initial way the brain too has no sense of identity. However, the brain is configured to search for an identity. The brain is the instrument that produces thought. The brain is configured to search for an identity. The brain must answer the question “Who am I?” Hand need not answer the question “Who am I?” but the brain must answer the question “Who am I?” It needs to have an identity. Now how does it get that identity?
From where does it seek that identity? Brain comes from the past. Right? It is a product of movement through time, evolution. The brain was not always there, right. It evolved. So the brain is essentially time. Time. So, the brain searches its identity in time. You will have to be very careful while listening to this, otherwise, you will miss it. Brain searches its identity in time because the brain itself is a product of time. So, the brain says, “Time is very good because time itself is my father.” Time is the father of brain.
So, the brain loves time. Brain says, “With whatever I spend time, that is my identity. Wherever I spend time, that is my identity”. Hence, whatever is close to the brain for a long period of time, the brain takes that as its identity. And what is the identity? The identity is “I am That”.
Suppose the brain is living for a long time with ‘X’ so the brain will start saying, “I am X”. And this coming together of ‘I am’ and ‘X’ is called attachment. This coming together of ‘I am’, ‘I am” is brain and ‘X’ is the object with which the brain has lived for a long period of time. These two come together and an identity is produced, the identity says “I am X”. And coming together of ‘I am’ and ‘X’ is called attachment. Now you need to look into your life and see “What is it that you have spent your time with?”
Wherever you spend your time, you will be attached to that.
You have spent a lot of time with your family, you will be attached to your family. You have spent a lot of time with certain religious thoughts, certain social ideals, you will be attached to them. You have spent every second of your time with your body, have you ever been outside your body? You spend every minute of your time with your body, you will be very attached to your body. You have lived for a long time in a particular house, you will be attached to that house. You have had a hairstyle for a long time, you will be attached to that hairstyle. You will have problems getting rid of that hairstyle.
You have spoken in a particular accent for a long time, you will become attached to that accent. You have lived in a particular country for a long time, you will become attached to that country. Brain is time, and in time it searches for its identity through the process of attachment. That is attachment.
So, attachment is something very simple, wherever you spend your time and whatever you spend your time with is called attachment and the brain is very eager to get attached. You spend your time with anything, anybody or any thought and it will get attached.
In fact, if a baby is born and the baby is made to spend all his time close to a wall, play near the wall, eat near the wall, sleep near the wall, not even for a second can you go away from the wall, the baby will become so attached to the wall that if you hit the wall, the baby will feel as if his own body is being hit. Are you understanding this?
So, this is attachment. Now once you are attached to something, you want to remain attached, that’s how the brain functions. Once attached, it wants to remain attached. And this want that the old pattern must continue is called expectation. So, out of attachment arises expectation. Expectation arises out of attachment. My entire expectation. There is no other expectation in life. My entire expectation is — there is no other expectation in life — just that my attachments must continue. You investigate all your desires, expectation is a desire. You investigate all your desires and you will find one thing in common, every single desire is that my attachments must not break. There is no other desire. Find out. See. That is the only desire you ever have. The desire may take different shapes, different forms, different names, but ultimately it is the same desire, “My attachments must not be taken away, they must not break”. Are you getting it?
So, that is the relationship between expectations and attachment. Now
Attachment is something very very dead. It is just a dead coincidence how and where you spent your time in the past. Out of that dead coincidence arises the dead attachment, and out of this dead attachment arises the dead expectation. Now, when the expectation is something so mechanical, so dead, is it wise on our part to run after expectations? Spending time is a coincidence. Right? It’s totally incidental, you didn’t decide.
So, attachment is incidental. When attachment is incidental, expectation is incidental. Why must you run after incidental expectations and waste your life? Go into your expectations, go into your desires and what is the shape that desires take? Aims, targets, ambitions, ideals, dreams, go into all of these, find out. Surely all your dreams are coming from some attachments. Surely all your targets are arising from some dead attachment of the past. Figure that out. That’s what an intelligent mind does. it does not remain a slave of the past, it says alright, the brain is mechanical, but I am something beyond the brain. The brain has no power over attachments, but I have power. Clear?
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Attachment and expectations
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