Transforming Our Attachment into Care

The Tibetan tantras invite us to transform our attachment into a mind of “great bliss”, and in doing so take one of the main causes of our bondage to delusions and change it into a cause of enlightenment. What is a mind of “great bliss” sounds pretty exciting and pleasurable right? To experience an authentic state of great bliss is to experience the primal energy of divine creativity emerging from the emptiness of our causal, or very subtle, formless awareness.  Another way of putting it is to say that the mind of great bliss is the cosmic version of our everyday mind of caring, loving and being compassionate.
Ordinary everyday attachment reduces our ability to care, love and feel compassion because it becomes so obsessed with what it wants (be it a person, pleasure, view or goal) that the longing for it actually blocks our capacity to act with care and consideration for others. From this we can see that if we really want to experience great bliss as well as universal care and compassion, getting to the root of our deluded attachment really is a key.

Why is attachment to people, places and enjoyments so difficult to control for us? Superficially the answer comes back “well, the enjoyments such as food, sex, being “in love”, money and so forth are just so good that it is just natural to want them and desire them”. However, if we scratch a little deeper beneath the surface we discover that beneath our desperate search for sensual enjoyments lie deeper feelings of isolation, separation, loneliness and even desolation. On a deeper level the reason we search so desperately for something outside ourselves to get attached to is because inside we feel fundamentally empty, so we grasp at things outside ourself to “fill” us with the substance that we are searching for. So, one of the first steps in beginning to understand and transform our attachment into feelings of bliss and caring is to get deeply in touch with that part of ourselves that feels empty, desolate, lonely and isolated. Superficially this may not seem like an appealing idea, but if we understand the relationship of our inner separation and emptiness to our deluded attachment then this will give us the courage to explore a little further!

Once we have contacted our own deep feelings of emptiness, we can then begin to transform them by deliberately extending feelings of care, fullness and compassion to ourselves. By consciously extending feelings of care and compassion to ourselves we can then fill that empty space within us, thereby depriving our deluded attachment of one of its core driving factors. This will then result in:
– An increased ability to engage with and enjoy our daily enjoyments and pleasures in a non-deluded way, without the hidden agenda of our deluded attachment.
– Energy that was previously caught up in cycles of deluded attachment within us being released, which can then be re-directed as care and compassion toward ourself, others in our life and out into the world at large.
– An increased ability to experience bliss in our body-mind which if directed appropriately can become an authentic experience of tantric great bliss, which is actually the energy of trans-personal love and compassion.

A suggested practice 

– Take time to get to the root of your deluded attachments and addictions by meditating on the presence of loneliness, isolation and “negative” emptiness in your mind.
– Having found and become familiar with these feelings (that is to say you get to a stage when you don’t instinctively try and avoid or repress them when they arise in your awareness), practice holding them in your mind whilst simultaneously extending feelings of love, tenderness and care toward yourself and specifically these feelings of emptiness.
– Visualize a blissful light or energy at your heart. Identify it as the blissful energy of universal care and compassion. Practice radiating this blissful energy from your heart into your own body at first, filling it from your head to your toes. After this practice extending the energy out to others in your circle of influence, and into the world at large.

Another general practice you might try with your attachment is to meditate on it in the context of the meditation in my article “Using the Energy of Negative Emotions”.

© Toby Ouvry 2012, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website


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