Releasing Attachments

THE FIVE LEVELS OF ATTACHMENT (Letting go for Peace of Mind)

by Dr. Jon Repole, D.C., N.C., H.H.P.


I recently came across a gem of a book entitled, The Five Levels of Attachment by Miguel Ruiz, Jr. I found the core tenets of his "attachment theory" a great teaching tool to help bring awareness into those areas of our life where change is necessary to uncover our most authentic self.


Attachments cloud our eyes in seeing the world for what it truly is. We cloud what we see by imposing judgments upon events, circumstances and other human beings. Attachments are given strength by a form of “conditional love.”


It is important to see our life as an artist or co-creator. One of the quotes from the book suggests that, “our life is a canvas and we are all Picassos,” We are able to use every brush stroke as a means to paint our life exactly as we want to. By becoming aware of our attachments, we will become empowered to release those attachments we have consciously identified – thereby releasing their control over us. It is a mind shift of viewing our lives as co-creators rather than as a victims. Suffering is a choice and the key to our ultimate goal of “peace of mind” is recognizing that the world does not happen to you but rather you create the world you see through your lens of perception and attachments.


Here are the 5 levels of attachment in respect to an analogy of a soccer game:


Level 1: Authentic Self

We have no preference for what team wins. We simply watch the game, and when it ends we move on without attachment. We love the game for the game’s sake. We are in the present moment.


Level 2: Preference

We begin to root for one team but not against the other. We invest a small piece of ourselves, but leave the preferences at the game – and never bring it home with us.


Level 3: Identification

We identify with the team and “take it home.” We begin to develop a mask or identity that is not currently brought into our awareness. In essence, we would be able to talk with the opposing team members and their followers. Our verbiage begins to sound like:

“This is my team”

“We did not play right today”


This is the level of identification of equating who you are with what you do – your job, career, role, etc.


Level 4: Internalization

At this level, winning and losing are taken personally. Our day is completely ruined if our team loses. We would not be able to talk with opposing team members or followers. It is here where we begin to practice “conditional love.” We identify with our clan, our nation, etc. at the exclusion of others.


Level 5: Fanaticism

We worship out team. We have 100% attachment and defend our team as a “fanatic.” At this level we are willing to defend at all costs – even by killing another. We have completely lost identification with our authentic self and the interconnectedness of all.


So how do we use this?

We can use these levels of attachments to create awareness of what we value, how we are engaging with the world around us and what our lens of perceptions is. It can be applied to anything - jobs, friends, neighbors, cars, food, T.V. shows, religion, etc. Once identified where we are along this continuum, we can begin to release the attachments and live a more present-moment existence!

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