Upadana is literally translated as ‘fuel’ but also is used in gardening metaphors to mean seeds as well as having connotations around ‘pulling towards oneself.’ I already alluded to why this is an important concept with the idea of maladaptive strategies that generate their own fuel. Upadana is a mental event that immediately follows Tanha. It can be thought of as the opposite of Equanimity. We instinctively pull or push away aspects of mental objects/representations that we do or don’t like. We try to ascertain the aspects of objects that are stable, controllable, satisfying so that we can own, or associate with those aspects. We ignore or try to push away aspects of the objects that make us feel hopeless, helpless, worthless, empty. This carving up of objects has little to do with how they are in the world, so the mental stories we build out of these carved up objects are also incoherent. One way I’ve found helpful for spotting this is to notice that what is really happening in moment by moment experience is that I’m very rapidly doing a bunch of inferences on the object, and then throwing out the original data and only keeping the results of these inferences.