Healthy (Non) Attachment

A Daylong Retreat with George Haas

Saturday, March 19, 2016

10am- 5:30pm


“My job is a travel agent, taking you effortlessly between heaven and hell.” Joshu Sasaki Roshi

Somewhere along this Buddhist path, you may have heard that “attachment” is the cause of suffering, and that “non-attachment” is the way out of suffering. If you interpreted that to mean, the best way to live your life is never to attach to anything ever again, no matter what: people, places, things, and that the failure to remain attachment-free is what is making life so miserable, then that would be Wrong View.

“Attachment” in the Buddhist sense requires two things: the self that does the attaching, and the object that the self attaches to. This requires a view of the six senses: feeling, seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and thinking, in which the self and the thing are experienced as separate: dual.

“Non-attachment” is the opposite, no separation between self and object: non-dual. This requires a view of the six senses in which the “experience of separation between self and object” is known to be made up of the same flow of sensory activity that makes up everything we experience. (This is hard to understand if you haven’t had the direct experience of it.)

So far, there has been no mention of suffering in attachment/non-attachment. That’s because there is nothing inherently wrong with the dual view of separate self and thing. In fact, it can be of great use bopping around the planet as we do, engaging the world, working, making friends, finding lovers, and fitting our families together, creating real meaning in our lives.

There is no advantage to living life continually in the non-dual view of the activity of our six senses. How would you remember to grab a sandwich when you got hungry or take a leak when your bladder got full? Going effortlessly back and forth between the two, being free to attach completely and to let go completely in each moment is the source of real happiness, and Right View.

Now the suffering part: clinging to one “view” causes suffering. Let me repeat that: attachment is not what causes suffering, THE CAUSE OF SUFFERING IS CLINGING, GRIPPING, HOLDING ON, CLASPING, CLUTCHING, GRASPING, STICKING LIKE GLUE TO THE VIEW OF HOW YOU WANT YOU AND THE WORLD TO BE IN SPITE OF ANY AND ALL EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY.

This workshop will focus on how to use the wisdom aspects of The Eightfold Path: Right View and Right Intention, and the ways we get them wrong. Not why we cling, but on how we actually do it, the mechanics of clinging, and how that leads to suffering. We will use John Bowlby’s Attachment Theory as the reference point for healthy attachment in the everyday world sense, so what we do here will have practical application in our day-to-day lives.

The meditation techniques offered in this workshop will be specific, simple and easy-to-do, so whether you already have an established practice or are just beginning you can benefit.


COST: Sliding Scale: $35 – $75, plus an offering of dana to the teacher. Please pay at the highest level you can afford to support our programs and pay it forward for those who have less.
Scholarships and work-study are available. No is turned away for lack of funds.

$100 Plus Monthly Supporters attend for no cost. To RSVP as a monthly supporter, click here.
Please Click Here for more info on our Monthly Supporter program.

George Haas began his path with a period of light-weight spiritual seeking (and heavy-duty drug and alcohol use). In 1978, he began a serious exploration of the 11th step of the 12-Step tradition, working primarily with concentration to reduce the anxiety of living sober. In an effort to make sense out of, and live with, the mounting AIDS deaths of the 1980s, Mr. Haas began walking the Red Road (traditional Native American spiritual practices) and reading Buddhist texts. Moving to Los Angeles from Manhattan in 1992 to work in the film and photography trades, George began sitting Vipassana at Ordinary Dharma in Venice, and reading extensively. In 1998, he began study with his current teacher, Shinzen Young, and Vipassana Support International, where he is now a senior facilitator. George teaches regularly at ATS. He offers a guided-meditation via conference call Monday through Saturday mornings, 7:30-7:55am, and teaches privately via Skype, phone, email, text & IM, which Los Angeles Magazine included on its Best of LA 2011 list as “Best Online Buddhist Meditation.” For more information check out his website: or call him at 213-820-7800.


This will be held at Against the Stream San Francisco
2701 Folsom Street 415.695.2864