The idea of attachment has been in my mind a lot lately.
For the past few months, my BFF has been sharing with me a bunch of takeaways from Super Soul Sunday where Oprah Winfrey interviews Eckhart Tolle about his book A New Earth.
I kept loving what she was sharing with me so I downloaded the book on Audible and have been listening to it every moment — from solo car rides to coffee shop walks — I can.
So far in the book, Tolle talks a lot about attachment and how we attach to external things as a way to try to form our inner identity.
In the book’s chapter titled ‘The Lost Ring’ he shares a story of a past client who was given only a few months left to live after a cancer diagnosis. On one of Tolle’s visits to see her, she shared that her very special diamond ring had gone missing.
She thought it had been stolen by a caregiver and was very upset and defensive about the situation.
In response, Tolle asked her a series of questions, which I want to share with you today:
- Do you realize you’ll have to let go of the ring at some point (perhaps quite soon)?
- How much more time to you need before you’ll be ready to let go of it?
- Will you become less when you let go of it?
- Has who you are become diminished by the loss?
Rather than replying instantly, he encouraged her to find the answers within herself.
While I haven’t agreed with or resonated with everything in the book so far (<– just a note that we can still learn SO much from a book or experience even if we don’t love / agree with / connect with / resonate with every single second of it), I was especially touched by this chapter.
Specially, I found his questions to be incredibly powerful.
I found myself crying in my car thinking of all the ‘rings’ that I’ve had in my life. Whether they been the idea of an ‘ideal’ or ‘unchanging’ body, the ‘perfect’ diet, what others think of me (or what I perceive them to think of me), and the list goes on and on.
I was very attached to these external things. More than that, who I believed I was felt VERY intertwined with these concepts.
At first, letting go of those ideas made me feel like I was ‘less.’ But, when I took the time to go within I realized that none of those concepts ever had or ever could define me.
While listening to the book, I found myself crying a little but as he read these questions. It just brought me back to that place where my inner sense of self worth had been so attached to something external.
Do you find yourself struggling with attaching your worth and enoughness to something outside yourself (i.e. a ‘ring’ or sorts)?
If so, I hope Tolle’s questions will help you reflect more deeply on that feeling.
And, like he shares in A New Earth, I hope that you’ll look for the answers within yourself rather than feeling the need to reply instantly.