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Attachment, Detachment

It is very easy to get ourselves attached to something, or someone. And this is always because we perceive that something, or someone does something wonderful to or for our being when we feel overwhelmed. And so you see, it is really not that something or someone that we are seemingly attached to; but more of the feelings which arise in us which we have perceived come with the concurrence of that something or someone in our space. Take for instance, a mother who gives birth to a child. Just because the baby came out from her so per say, she begins to think that the baby is hers. As she nurtures and cares for the baby as time goes by, she reaffirms that the baby, is indeed hers because she feels that she is important in one’s life – oblivious that her functions to the baby are only as a guardian or a caretaker. One of the examples of attachment.

In most of my recent conversations with others, I begin to observe why people who were initially on their spiritual journey would, out-of-a-sudden, limit themselves half way through. Nevermind about the unwillingness to face what is within but they were afraid that once they have embraced the spiritual journey fully, which is in truth a journey of no return; they’d lose everything. There are things that the mind imagines – I would not love my children as I love myself; I would leave my husband; I would have to give up money/career; or I would lose this or that… in short, I would have nothing. Now, who is the “I” here?

See how the mind conjures a meaning of the word ‘letting go’ or ‘detachment’? Let’s just assume that this perception came from the association of someone who was important in society and thereafter sold his Ferrari, left his family so to speak, gave up his career to become a monk. So could it be this type of scene or retold stories that makes one think that to be a monk, or to be on a spiritual journey, one has to detach or let go in such a way? Waitaminute… how did the Mind even come to the conclusion that embarking on the spiritual journey would lead to letting go or detachment?

This morning a loved one shared with me two stories: –

First Story

Despite her previous endeavor on the spiritual journey or so she says, she has chosen to remain ‘attached’ to her children and family because she would otherwise have no other ‘thing’ to do in her life – nothing to worry about, nothing to be happy about, no one to care about, no one to give advice to. She likes the myriad of feelings she feels; the ups and downs; but also confessed that as soon as the discomfort or pain draws near to her core, she’d redraw herself from the situation. She explains that she knows how to control herself. I wonder, if she meant that she knew how to control her own mind?

As she shared the first story, I observed that she was not attached to her loved ones per se, but more to the made-up meanings of her loved ones in the mind. I wondered, if she knew the difference.

Second Story

She emailed her sister, who is always over-the-top over her (the sister) children. In the email, she advised  her sister that she (the sister) ought to find time for herself and to start loving herself. Very wise advice indeed. Her sister’s reply however, shocked her. In her sister’s reply, she said, “I will consider what you have suggested, and try to love myself more than my children.” It is indeed comical. She (as in my loved one) and I laughed a little. Since when did loving oneself mean not to love another/others or to love them less? Is our love tank so ridiculously small?

I wondered again if they truly knew what was in the abyss of their minds, would they remain as bonded or stressed out as they are now.

It is hard to explain how when one loses everything, one has everything. The closest that I could put into words is that ‘detachment’ or ‘letting go’ doesn’t mean that we need to give up things or anyone; but the meaning of things or people in our minds. And the ‘meaning’ here, is the perceptions and ideas conjured from past experiences, observations and data; stored in the mind. When these ideas, which really do not serve us anyway, are questioned and transcended, we not only free ourselves of bondage, but also others. We would be able to see others clearly. Very similar to one of the ending scenes in the movie Avatar where, Neytiri, fully accepting Jake as he is (not a kind of her own) says to Jake, “I see you”. We can finally see others without our own ideas/meanings projected onto them and hence there lay a possibility to love freely, respond loving and peacefully –anything and anyone.

It is very strange that after knowing all this, some of us still think that it is the easiest to remain that attachment, that grudging feeling at the pit of our stomachs and complaints.

Could it be that it is not freedom that we really want? Could it be that peace is not really what we seek? Then why so much protesting for freedom and peace? Surely, something is missing here.

Or, could it be that we see there no possibility of freedom and peace, thus the lifting of the white flag?

But what if I were to tell you, that it is possible; and all it takes is only your willingness, and your courage. Would that you bring you back, a little closer to Home?

3 Responses to “Attachment, Detachment”

  1. htl says:

    Delusion is the culprit. When we ignore how we are being deluded to see things other than what it really is, we are into big trouble.

    Again it is about wisdom. Without wisdom, ignorance rule the day.

  2. John Demaio says:

    🙂 Good point . You are absolutely right.

  3. Just bookmarked your site, thanks for sharing!

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