Sutra 2.7 - Attachment.

2.7 Attachment is that magnetic pattern which clusters in pleasure and pulls one towards such experience.

What does it mean when you are attached to something?  What is detachment?  In Sutra 2.7, we see that this Sutra equate attachment to a magnetic force, not something that your are stuck to like glue.  I like this analogy because it shows there are differing levels of attachment.  The closer a piece of metal gets to a magnet, the stronger the attachment.

Our attachments have roots in biology.  The pleasure centers of our brain release dopamine to reward us with pleasurable sensations.  Things like drugs and exciting experiences build up cravings in our biology, giving us the desire for repitition.   See my blog post

Happieness and the Persuit of Novelty

When we start doing meditation, two things happen: we begin to feel a sense of mindful stability and all the things we were repressing begin to surface.  Out attachments surface as thoughts in our head of things we would rather be doing, music we like, or thinking about what just happened on the last episode of The Walking Dead.  It's very hard to get these thoughts out of your head.  Once the seed of a thought is planted, it germinates into a plant, that grows into other thoughts.  Before you know it, you went from thinking about some TV show to "what's for dinner?".  When you first start meditating, it's not that the mind is noisier, you are now aware of what is going on at the surface.

So how do we detach ourselves?  We work on letting the thoughts go through the mind like a river.  You sit at the bank of the river and let the thoughts flow by without putting any effort into stopping them.  See, thoughts are like the waves in the ocean, they rise and fall.  If you try to get rid of a thought, you will just be throwing more rocks into the pond. 

A detached life is not an apathetic life.  We confuse excitement for happiness.  True happiness is something that does not stop after the experience has ended.  It roles on from moment to moment.  We call this ananda in Yoga and it loosely translates to "bliss".  We can hang on to this bliss in our daily lives, and feel fulfilled.   This is not enlightenment though.  We still have to work in the world to fulfill our karma.  Unfortunately, many people get hung up on this bliss and withdraw from the world altogether.  These are the people that run off and join a beat farm and change their name to Stardust Happyfeet. 

As 311 Said "Keep my feet on the ground, keep my head in the clouds"