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Excerpted from If the Buddha Married by Charlotte Kasl. Copyright © 2001 by Charlotte Kasl. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Putnam, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"Whenever you are agitated, upset, angry, mad, or hurt, you have an attachment to something being different than it is or you are afraid of the outcome."

  Charlotte Kasl, If the Buddha Married, Part 4

Though I felt greatly relieved to understand this teaching, I did not instantly stop feeling hurt, angry, or sad. However, more and more often, I could interrupt my habituated responses by stepping back and witnessing that my reactions stemmed from my attachments. It was like creating a pause that allowed my mind to switch gears. Needless to say, becoming aware of attachments takes daily practice.

To love better and feet more openhearted and unified with others, start to notice your attachments to thoughts and behavior of yourself and your partner. Whenever you are agitated, upset, angry, mad, or hurt, you have an attachment to something being different than it is or you are afraid of the outcome. You are resisting the "what is" of the moment. As you observe your experience and all the accompanying feelings, realize you are creating your emotional state.

In relationships, people become attached to praise, validation, sex, security, status, and affirmations of their worth. Sentiments like, "You make me feel so bad" or "You make me feel so good" are both forms of attachment because no one can make us feel secure and our partner is not here to tell us we're okay. This doesn't mean that loving couples donít validate or give support to each other, itís that they donít depend on it from their partner. It is given as a natural outpouring of love and care.

As we loosen our attachments, our mind starts to quiet down and we feel more attuned to others. Our attachments donít disappear, but we see them for what they are -- the chattering of our conditioned mind. When we step back and ask, "Now what am I demanding that's making me so upset?" we become a witness to the unfolding drama of our lives. We start to see it as a passing show. We are in it, but not of it.

A word of caution: Some people hide behind the concept of attachment to stay in a harmful relationship. They rationalize abuse by saying, "I'm just attached to his being different." This masks the deeper attachment, namely, that the person is staying in a painful relationship for security, or because they fear being alone. So, remember, take these teachings in spirit and use them to create greater happiness in your life, not to hide.

It's a habit of yours to walk slowly
You hold a grudge for years
With such heaviness, how can you be modest?
With such attachments, do you expect to arrive anywhere?
-Rumi, "Bismillah"

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