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What is emotional attachment? || Acharya Prashant, with youth (2014)

Author Acharya Prashant

Acharya Prashant

7 min
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Questioner (Q): Is emotional attachment so powerful? Why does it have such deep effect?

Acharya Prashant (AP): Do you know what is attachment? Attachment is—when your unconscious nature prevails, without you knowing anything of it. Attachment is nothing but the movement of our material nature. Yes, we are talking about emotional attachment.

So, look at an iron piece and a magnet. The iron piece attracts the magnet. The magnet attracts the iron piece. Both move towards each other. Does any of them have any idea of what is happening? Does any of them have any idea what is happening?

And if you leave an iron piece and a magnet together for a long time, do you know what will happen? Do you know what will happen? They will get actually attached to each other. Diffusion of molecules from one solid surface to the other will take place.

You all know of gaseous diffusion, right? You leave oxygen and nitrogen together. What happens to them? They mix. You also know of liquid diffusion. But are you aware that solids also diffuse into each other?

Have you seen very old cars or bikes. There, do we have a mechanical batch here? No. If you want to operate upon an old nut bolt, you can't open it. If you have a vehicle, let's say a bike that is now 20 years old or let's say 12 years old.

And if there is a nut that has not been opened since a long time, and now you want to open it, you can't open it. Because the two pieces, the nut, and the bolt have now become one. Solid diffusion takes place. Now you have only one option. Cut it. You can't open it.

And that happens not with the same metal, not only with the same metal but even with different metals. You keep nickel and chromium together and they will become one, at the surface, they will just join. This is attachment.

Attachment requires two things. One, “closeness in space.” Second, “lot of time.” “Space and time.” Space and time are also the variables in which the human mind lives. “Space and time.” The world is nothing but space and time. So, closeness in space and length in time is what gives you attachment. Attachment is only that.

Bring sodium and water together. And what do their atoms do? They get attached to each other and you get NaOH. Does sodium know what is happening? Did sodium even desire that this must happen? Does water know what is happening? But still, this is happening, because they have been brought together.

“Space.” You don't bring them together, nothing will happen. That is the truth of attachment. Whenever you are together with somebody, anybody, over a long period of time, you will get attached. It may just be a dog. It may even be a cricket bat. It may just be a wall.

Experiments have been done in which kids who were born were made to stay close to a particular wall for long periods of time. Whatever they did, they had to do in the vicinity of that wall. Want to play, play close to that wall. Eat, eat close to that wall. Sleep close to that wall. Never go too far away from that wall. And the kid started growing very attached to that wall. So much so, you would be deeply surprised that when somebody would hit the wall, the kid would feel as if he had been hit.

The same center in his brain would get activated, that gets activated when somebody hits you. You know when you are hit, one portion of your brain gets lighted up. The neurons there, there is extra electrical activity. And you can have sensors that can judge that electric activity.

It was surprisingly found that the same area, the same neurons, the same kind of electrical activity started happening in the child's mind when the wall was hit. So, whether you hit the child, or whether you hit the wall, the same area in the brain is getting lighted up. That is attachment—space and time.

If you have been staying close to a few people since a long time, you will get very attached to them. That is not at all love. That is just the action of space and time. Do not confuse that with love. That is also the basis of arranged marriage. Bring any two people together, one man and one woman. Let there be no love between them. But if they stay together for ten years, they will become so habituated to each other that they will start saying we love each other.

There is never any love. Just habit, attachment, attachment. Long periods got attached. No love in this. Just iron and magnet. Male hormone and female hormone, chemicals, chemicals. There is no consciousness in attachment. Attachment is totally dead, very, very dead.

Attachment is not at all love. Love is a very, very conscious thing, very conscious. And attachment is very dead. Love and attachment are opposites. If you are attached to something, kindly be aware, you do not love.

In love, there is freedom, not attachment. And attachment is the opposite of freedom. When you are attached to something, you do not want to let it go away. Would you want to let it go away? If I am attached to something, I would always wish that the thing is here. Now, this thing wants to fly off, but I will not let it fly off. Because I am attached to it.

Love is never self-centered. Attachment is always self-centered. Love cares for the other. Attachment cares only for itself. Love is not dependency. Attachment is great dependency.

It's your age. It's your age, there is a hormonal boil. If you feel attracted towards a person, and later on if you feel attached, kindly do not become too serious about the whole thing. It is just chemicals. And if those chemicals are removed from your body, all the attachment will disappear, all the attachment will go.

Remember, love is not chemicals. You insert any chemical, or you remove any chemical, love will not be affected. But attachment will surely be affected. Attraction will be affected.

If all the males are given an extra shot of testosterone, they will start feeling super attracted towards women. If all the women are given an extra shot of the female hormone, they will start feeling super attracted towards men.

This is just iron and magnet stuff, sodium and water. Don't take it too seriously. Know what is happening. Just chemicals. And if you remove those chemicals, nothing remains, gone, gone. Ask yourself, what is it? Just a chemical, mechanical process? Or a conscious thing Love is conscious. Love is not chemicals. Love understands. Attachment never understands.

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