The phrase "personal attachment" is used in Christian Science to denote a phase of human thought which often deludes mortals, anchors them in unhappy earth scenes, and bars their spiritual progress.
Article VIII of the Manual of The Mother Church, entitled "Discipline," begins with a rule for self-discipline fundamental to the demonstration of Christian Science. Here Mary Baker Eddy says, in part: "Neither animosity nor mere personal attachment should impel the motives or acts of the members of The Mother Church. In Science, divine Love alone governs man." What does "personal attachment" here refer to? It refers to the tendency of human thought to cling to, with false love or hate, a misconception of man as humanly personal instead of spiritually individual, a misconception that hides our relationship to God and to one another.
Mortals have a sense of relationship toward one another which is the outgrowth of family ties, personal friendships, close association in business, social, or political life. These relationships are sometimes kept on a normal basis, with full freedom of individual thought and action under God's control, unhampered by the ignorant forces of fearful, dominating, or idolatrous personal attachment.
Too often, however, some of these relationships become abnormal by mortals attempting to possess or to control, through willfulness, fear, or hate, other mortals, so losing sight of man as God-made and God-controlled. At no time is man, the evidence of God, subject to any will or law but the divine.
Then there is the personal attachment found in personal infatuation, and sexual attraction, which would mesmerically blind thought to the true, wholesome, and satisfying idea of man and relationship wherein all individuals are intelligently related by the forces of creative Principle, Mind, so that they may fulfill the purpose of their being to glorify God, and love one another in constructive unity and righteous activity.
Another phase of personal attachment, which is not often regarded as such, is manifested when one person thinks critically, jealously, or hatefully toward another. Here one person accepts the belief that there is an unpleasant, negative attachment between him and the other person. The one who is critical, jealous, or hateful forges in his own thought a link of attachment to a misconception of his brother. In belief, he is clinging to a sense of mortal personality as definitely as though he were idolizing that personality, though the link is of a different hue.
Still another form of personal attachment is one's attachment to oneself as a material personality, self-centered and devoted to furthering his selfish ambitions, purposes, and desires. He seeks out material indulgences to try to satisfy the material personality to which he has mistakenly become attached. He pities it in its failures, and futilely attempts to build up its prestige.
The priest and the Levite who "passed by on the other side" were blinded by personal attachment to their material sense of self. So blinded, they could not see the opportunity to express the God-established relationship of man to man, imbued with mercy and love.
Saul's personal attachment through jealousy toward David consumed him. This false thinking mentally attached him to a material conception of David and of himself which separated him from any sense of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, the true idea of being that was there to save and free him from that which was his undoing.
David, on the other hand, had no personal attachment for the material personality of Saul. He refused to do Saul harm when he slept in the cave where David, unbeknown to the king, was already resting. David's thought had accepted enough of the spiritual idea of all men as God's children, living by, for, and in Him, not to be deluded by the lie that they exist as contentious mortal personalities.
Many with dear ones in the combat zones have found the need to let go of the false, restrictive sense of mere personal attachment for human persons. In its place, through Christian Science, they have gained something of the true and spiritual sense of themselves and their dear ones. Like the Shunammite mother, they have realized how much better God can protect and preserve His children than can a human friend or relative. They have surrendered a limiting, fearful sense of personal attachment and human love for the reassuring sense of God's universal, all-embracing presence. This one eternal Parent, they have realized, forever contains, controls, and protects His own. Therein is His manifestation.
Radical spiritual thinking is often necessary to break the mesmerism of personal attachment. Sometimes this attachment wears the cloak of respectability and custom, and sometimes the mark of animality or self-centered belief. Christian Science teaches its students to cling persistently in thought to the unchangeable truth that nothing is real but infinite Mind and its ideas; to realize that every individual idea depends solely upon God, its source, for its life, consciousness, status, protection, and destiny; that in Mind's universe there is no material mind, and so no materially-minded personality. God knows only His own kingdom, and His ideas know by reflection only what He knows.
Each individual is related to God, his cause, and each individual knows himself and his brother as so related. No idea antedates another, as material classification by age and generation suggests. All coexist in Love's one great family, where not one is dependent on another, but all are dependent on their common source, God. All give to and receive from one another not from motives of personal attachment, but by reason of the impulsion of the one Mind, which makes all, animates all, protects and unites all in indivisible brotherhood.
"In Science, divine Love alone governs man" (ibid.). Here is the rock on which to stand and to master every form of mere personal attachment. Because "divine Love alone governs man," he is, eternally. His life, health, safety, place, activity, and relationships are sure. "The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me," said the Psalmist. And this is true about every individuality. The Mind of Christ knows this and causes you and me to realize its truth concerning ourselves and our brother.
Our work, then, in order to free ourselves from personal attachment, is to realize more of the unity of man with God, to think not in terms of a material world and mortal personalities, but rather of God's kingdom, universal and intact, peopled now and always with God-expressing individualities, including the true individuality of you, of me, and of our brother. Such thoughts lift consciousness above mortal mind and its would-be creation of mortal persons to the spiritual and true sense of God, man, and relationship. Then there appear in our human affairs less of personal attachment, more trust in God, and more of Love's government of us all, evidenced in individual freedom, security, morality, and good will. The Christ-idea of being removes any reliance on personal attachment with the spiritual sense of the unity of all men with God and their security therein.
Moses wrote, "For the Lord your God is God of gods, ... which regardeth not persons." Centuries later Paul saw this was still true and said, "God is no respecter of persons." Who can afford to accord to human personality a higher value than does God?