Finding Freedom from Lenchak: Examining Our Obsessive Attachments

Lenchak is a term I have been using for a number of years, I have been equating it with attachment, but experientially lenchak is felt as an emotional, almost physical, pain in the chest. It consumes your peace of mind and has the effect of lowering your lungta. Lenchak is like the Epstein Barr virus. When Epstein Barr comes on strong and takes a strong hold of your body, you feel lost in tremendous sense of fatigue, it feels like hard work even getting up and going to the bathroom. In this way, lenchak attacks the “nervous system” of your lungta or energy, and you are brought down to the point of collapsing into a mode of pathetic existence.

If we look back, we can see that this experience of lenchak has been something that has come up for most of our life, and it seems like it will continue into the future. In this way, we do not really even have a notion that it is possible to be free of it.

From my point of view, people are in incredible pain because of their lenchak. If you really look at your life, one thing that is an absolute suffering is your lenchak towards the world, towards beings that you are closely connected to, towards material goods, towards ideologies, and ultimately towards yourself. Lenchak doesn’t leave us alone at all.

Lenchak to Beings

Lenchak is obsessive attachment. For example, in the case of having lenchak to a person close to you, regardless of how the other person feels, you want to be the sole possessor of that person’s heart. If that person wants to offer his or her heart to you, then yes! Why not? However with this kind of obsessive attachment, you fail to recognize how your dignity gets affected, how it leaves you in a desperate place and state of mind. You become reduced to the desperate state of needing that person’s heart in your possession. You want their heart locked inside a box with an easily accessible combination, so that you can access its magic at any time.

Whether it’s between couples, students and teachers, children and parents, or between friends, this is “over-excessive” attachment. In this way, lenchak gets in the way of having a simple, decent and wholesome relationship with the world.

Lenchak or “over-excessive” attachment to beings, especially those close to you, also manifests in another form, it begins to blur the lines between the other person’s pain and your own; you begin to feel their pain, and react and struggle with it, almost as if it were your own. Of course, it is not your pain, and there is not much you can do to resolve it, especially when the lenchak is strong. This leads to resentment and frustration with the other person and in particular leads to feeling of being trapped: you feel stuck with that person’s emotions and pain. This is another sign of a strong lenchak taking place.

Thoughts and Lenchak

When you say, “I’m suffering!”, there are many thoughts popping up in your head like: “He’s bad, she’s bad, I hate this person, I am totally disgusted with that person, and I don’t want to even have a glimpse of this person in my life ever again.”

Now there is a freedom to actually have all of those thoughts in your mind: in fact you cant do much about it when they pop up in your head like that because of this natural, unavoidable freedom in the mind that allows for thoughts to assert themselves.

However, what’s happening in your chest is another story. This physical or emotional pain of lenchak is very dense and makes you collapse in large, medium and small ways, causing you to lose your seat of lungta or strength.

The best way to describe this pain in the chest is that it consumes both you and your peace. Yes, you could get mad, but that is a desperate form of collapsing. In the same way, obsessive attachment, jealousy, arrogance and all of the negative emotions rob you of your lungta or the well being that is supported by your strength. So what brings us down to this low-level pathetic existence where we lose our self-respect to some extent? I don’t think it’s the thoughts, although thoughts could be something that we blame to be the problem, just like we could blame outside issues beyond our thoughts to be the problem.

Outside Issues and Lenchak

We could think that issues or problems outside of us cause our suffering, but they are not the cause, because our emotions about issues can change even when the issues themselves remain in our lives. For instance, we often blame our financial situation to the cause of our depression. Yes, maybe that is true to some extent, when you go in the direction of thinking that way and have a strong belief in that.

On the other hand, we see many people who live a very low budget lifestyle, but also have high lungta and an incredible sense of inheriting the whole world as their court, so finances as an example of an outside circumstances cannot be a cause by itself. Actually most practitioners of the past lived in this manner, as many decent non-practitioners have also lived this way as well, for instance Gandhi liberated India despite having a messy domestic financial situation. We could also find similar examples of people in America and Europe who didn’t necessarily have the whole financial set-up that we think will be such a savior of our lungta and dignity.

So we make assertions that different issues eat up our peace, stir the pain inside our hearts, make our lives miserable and make us collapse into a pathetic existence. But rather than blame the outside world or circumstance, blame your lenchak!

Lenchak to Ideologies: Cinderella and the Savior of the World

I feel that it’s ironic and a cover-up to believe that you could be happy with the world when you are not happy with yourself, and the reason that you aren’t happy with yourself has a lot to do with your lenchak to ideologies. For example, if asked, “why are you so unhappy with yourself?”, you could come up with thousands of ideas of why you should be unhappy, and these ideas come from your lenchak to ideologies. However, ideologies in themselves do not oppress you, what oppresses you is your lenchak to the ideologies.

There are ideologies that have standards other than what you truly need to be happy with yourself, such as just a good sense of well-being, decency and lungta. For example, the “Cinderella ideology” causes so much pain for women. The idea that a “wicked witch” or some other person is trapping you in a cell, making you work hard, and depriving you of the good life and all the pleasures, which are so much a part of your inheritance rights.

On the other hand for men, there is the idea that you are entitled to be a glorious leader, a savior of the world and possessor of the throne, but somehow due to a lack of certain circumstances, which you blame, you are reduced to a small pathetic existence.

Although you manage your life well – you get around, do things and exchange ideas with others about what you are doing with your life - still deep in the back of your mind, you have this emotional issue about yourself. You have these thoughts of somehow being special, and that you are not living life to the full potential of your uniqueness. This emotional way of being has only to do with your self-importance. Hence you endure so much pain that you don’t need to endure.

You could be happy with yourself if you simply created some room to let go of this lenchak to yourself, rather than needing to be recognized as a great savior of the world or as Cinderella released from her cell and allowed to live in a palace with its dancing, cheering and servants. Please give this some serious thought.

Removing the Obstacle of Guilt

I don’t want people to feel guilty that they have lenchak. I totally sympathize with you because it is not easy to release yourself from this kind of lenchak that we have towards our own self importance. In one way or another, guilt is always rooted in self-importance, which is lenchak towards yourself. Yet feeling guilty that we are not doing the right thing is where everything goes wrong. Whether you are doing something right or whether you are not doing something right, feeling overly guilty is the greatest obstacle.

A Determination to be Free

We don’t want to merely “attempt” to be happy, but we want to be “successful” in being happy in life. We should be happy with the world “as it is,” even though the media tries to make us feel bad about the world. We should always find ways to counteract our failure, to be aware of how we surrender to the anti-lungta culture around us that comes from the tendency of taking refuge in the material world as a source of true reliance and salvation.

Within our own mindstream, we want to avoid losing respect for ourselves. We want to uproot the failure to recognize how we lose respect for ourselves by not making even the smallest attempt or gesture to be decent and good to ourselves, to the world and those around us. If we don’t make an attempt, we remain caught in negative emotions such as anger and attachment, which ignites a fire that burns us and leaves us in ashes.

My point is that what happens in your heart and chest in relation to your emotions going down the drain, has a lot of do with lenchak and not being clear about how to find freedom from the attachments that eat up your peace and lungta.

The problem isn’t that this happens and there is nothing that can be done about it. The problem is that you don’t recognize what is happening and you don’t do anything about it. Think clearly about this.

Since this is your life, you must find some “oomph” to raise your energy and lungta to the level that supports you and your aims for this life, rather than leaving your mind to spin in the direction determined by the natural occurrence of confusion.

In the end, the main thing is that we need to become free. People come with different problems and issues, but all in all they lack freedom. This lack of freedom and feeling stuck is created by your own mind, due to the lenchak towards the world, beings, material objects and ultimately towards yourself.

First published in Crucial Point: Spring 2005 edition