Carried Memories of Attachment: From Birth to Adulthood

Here we are diving deep into the caverns of our subconscious minds, uncovering five levels of attachment. Whether aware of or not will be the difference between happiness or suffering. We cling to identity or we acknowledge a greater perspective of what may be.

In Don Miguel Ruiz Jr. book The Five Levels of Attachment, he invites us to look into our own lives, observing our attachment to personal identity on may different levels. From personal to identifying as a collective group, we attach to idea that this is who we are, seeking confirmation from others.

Level One: Authentic Self

At the first level we associate with our Authentic Self, allowing the world to be as it is, remaining in awe with surrounding events. Without knowing who we are, spending countless time trying to invent who or what we are, but never accepting who we are.

Finding self, authentically, for who we are and whatever that may look like to you, we carry ourselves with a sense of knowing but without projecting thoughts onto the next. We can sit in the presence of a mighty oak or in a board room filled with brilliant minds, never really projecting our thoughts except admiring the divine presence of The Canvas around us.

Level Two: Preference

Eventually we must choose a side (or not), picking an idea or concept as our own. This level of attachment leads to the next level of attachment: Identification, where choose a side of an argument, a team sport, religious belief, political stance and depending on our attachment to preference will be the difference of enjoying or suffering in our decisions of daily returns.

With attachment to preference, it is our way or the highway road to suffering. The Canvas of Life is not meant for suffering but for enjoying the many differences within our daily lives. I could say to you that I identify as this or that and immediately you may (or may not) disagree with me and my views.

Non-attachment leads us to a fork in the road, where we must choose one path or the next. The difference of suffering and enjoyment is whether, when we travel this road for miles only to find it was not the path for us…do we get angry or blame another for leading us down this path? Or can we simply enjoy the view along the way and when misdirection is realized…simply state “I guess that wasn’t the path for me?!”

Level Three: Identification

This is the level where we take on an identification of belief or associate with another. Attachment leads us to wanting more of this and finding more persons or groups that confirm our beliefs, identifying as this or that.

Non-attachment says we can see varying differences in all things but ultimately we are connected by a greater Canvas, no longer having need for stating I am a Robin and I must sing. Simply put…a robin just wakes up and sings throughout the day, without worrying what other birds may think.

Level Four: Internalization

We identify with our “Authentic Self,” we become more of this persona. Never really knowing if we have arrived in our true self or if it is merely a dream state coming to life on a big screen, we identify as our “true Self,” internalizing our truths. What are our truths? Do we really know? This is hard for many to grasp and will argue the fact we must choose to believe in finite or specific beliefs. What if there are no real answers? Can we find comfort in never really knowing? Can we simply observe The Great Canvas before us?

At this level we become that which we believe in, either projecting more of our beliefs on another or simply identifying as this or that without an attachment to such? Again, depending on our attachment, either leads to suffering or bliss.

Level Five: Fanaticism

This level of attachment pretty much says it all. We become obsessed with an idea or belief, projecting in outwardly onto anyone and everyone we meet. With this attachment, is there a sense of superiority? We want to tell the world who we are or what we believe to be true!

We wear colors of our favorite team, carry playbook of ideologies, beat a specific drum playing specific beat. All of this is great! Choosing a side and belief…except when we claim another is wrong. There is no wrong.

It is true life would be easier if everyone just behaved a certain way, believed in the same thing. There is always another who sees the world differently, remaining quiet for so long, until one day they speak, changing the course and identity of the world as we know it.

Beginning at birth

Our level of attachment began at birth. We were born attached to mother. Separated at birth, we recreate new ways of reconnecting with mother. John Bowlby calls this Attachment Theory and explains four stages of an infants behaviors to gaining attention of mother.

We carry these memories into our adulthood and the knowledge gained from asserting our behaviors outwardly, recreating our attachment to being right, being better, being heard, being finite, When in reality it is all an illusion…


~Ani Po