Overcome Your Attachment to Possessions

In Buddhism, detachment means recognizing that there is nothing to attach to, for everything is temporary and impermanent. This idea conflicts with Western beliefs that prioritize achievement and wealth above all else. In the West, we believe that every time we get a shiny new possession, like a new phone or luxury car, our lives will improve until we reach a point of ultimate satisfaction. Once you get these possessions, however, it soon becomes clear that any satisfaction is fleeting, and any emotional or spiritual problems that existed before still remain.

Attachment Leads to Suffering

Buddhists believe that attachment leads to suffering. Thus, the fewer attachments you have, the less suffering you are likely to experience. Adam’s story illustrates this point. Adam is a restless man in his forties. Hungry for adventure, he’s just made the difficult decision to start a new life in a different city. 

The moment Adam starts packing, seeing all his possessions piled up on top of each other, he begins to feel overwhelmed. There’s furniture, cutlery, electronic devices, clothes, shoes, sports equipment, books, magazines, multiple TVs, a sound system, his grandparents’ furniture, paintings, and a spare mattress. The simple thought of moving everything makes Adam feel tired. He can’t imagine fitting all this stuff into his new apartment. Although it would be easier to sell his possessions or give them away, Adam is reluctant to leave anything behind.            

After mulling it over for a couple of weeks, Adam decides to put his belongings into storage. That way, I can always come back and pick them up later, he tells himself. The moment Adam leaves his old life behind, however, and moves into his new apartment, he notices that he doesn’t give his old possessions a second thought. He doesn’t miss them, and he doesn’t think about them. 

Adam wonders why he made such a big deal about leaving his possessions behind. This is the paradox of desire: wanting is better than having. Adam was reluctant to let go of his grandparents’ furniture and other sentimental items because he thought he would miss them. Instead, Adam discovers that his grandparents’ memory is with him wherever he goes. His memories are, in fact, a part of him and not tied to his possessions.

Less Attachment, More Happiness

Research shows that buying possessions brings us little in the way of happiness. We are, in fact, prone to grow bored of them the moment they are acquired. Instead of buying possessions, buying experiences brings us more satisfaction and happiness. This holds true even if an experience turns out to be disappointing or sour, such as a scary flight or spooky hotel. Bad experiences are useful because they provide valuable learning experiences and make the most memorable stories.


Master Creator Destroyer Slave represents the four steps to freedom. If you feel stuck, unable to get what you want out of life, this book will show you how to destroy the old and create the new, guiding you through the four steps to freedom: Slavery–Destruction–Creation–Mastery.