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Pietroni, P. (1993). Attachment-Detachment and Non-Attachment. J. Anal. Psychol., 38(1):45-55.

(1993). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 38(1):45-55

Attachment-Detachment and Non-Attachment

Patrick Pietroni, F.R.C.G.P., M.R.C.P., D.C.H.

There are three conditions which often look alike

Yet differ completely, flourish in the same hedgerow:

Attachment to self and to things and to persons, detachment

From self and from things and from persons; and, growing between them, indifference

Which resembles the others as death resembles life,

Being between two lives - unflowering, between

The live and the dead nettle.

(T. S. Eliot, ‘Little Gidding’)

The man who moves among the objects, free

from either attachment or repulsion finds peace.

In this peace the burden of all his previous sorrows

and miseries falls from him. Let the Yogi

Unceasingly exercise control over his mind, hoping

for nothing desiring nothing.

(Bhagavad Ghita 1962)

He [the Indian] wishes to free himself from nature …

I want to be freed neither from human beings, nor

from myself, nor from nature.

(C. G. Jung 1963)


These three introductory quotes help to introduce the concepts explored in this paper. The hypothesis to be explored is that the pursuit of Eastern spiritual practices by many Westerners is often driven by a disturbance in their attachments (to self, to things, and to persons).

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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