Attachments at any level have a duality within. While we have the object of our attachments, we feel secure, safe, comfortable… Once those supports are gone, we will suffer. Life is change, so change is a matter of time.
Many times those attachments are part of our role in Life, as when a wife is psychologically attached to her husband: Her role gives her a sense of purpose. Once the husband is no longer there, unless she is ready to “redefine” herself, that is to change; suffering is unavoidable.
Similarly, we could attach to ideals and ideas. The pursue of an ideal even though glorified such as “peace,” is just an ideal. Many people will give their lives for those ideals. “I will fight for peace in the world.”
Interesting peaceful fighting. “I will practice non- violence (ahimsa) to rebel against the oppressors.”
Interesting contradiction: Rebellion as non-violence.
Our minds may find those ideas “feasible,” but Life will show us otherwise. Any change without a process is violent, although it could be hidden with a pretty ideal. A natural process blends in imperceptibly.
Change is everywhere, but we resist it. That resistance is called attachment.
“My” physical form changes. “My” relationships will change. “My” ideas will change. The ultimate attachment is to my perception of “I.”
It is that “I” the one creating attachments.
Through “spirituality for the masses,” an attachment is perceived as something which we can get rid of; as in “work on it” to “improve” and be “detached.” That is the intellectual game of words.
Just because we ACT as if a particular attachment is not there, it doesn’t mean that it is gone.
Every attachment that we could observe in us, has a purpose in our Life journey. Therefore, to think that “I must get rid of it now,” is a detrimental illusion. Change happens all the time, but “I” want to control what “I” want to change according to my belief or ideology.
That is utmost nonsense.
Observe that a particular attachment is there. Observe the triggers. Recognize the inner neediness. Be aware of how you feel.
The wife in the example, could care for another person as husband, then the attachment that could trigger suffering, will not be there. This is what naturally, many individuals will do (unless they have a social/belief hang up,) but there is a significant difference: They are not AWARE of their attachment, so the next experience, will be the same as before. However, when we are AWARE, CONSCIOUS we could go through Life and observe the moment when attachment appears and it is through the quality of that observation alone, how attachment dissolves naturally. This is known as BEING CONSCIOUS in Life.
“But that is not helpful at all! I want to change now, I want to get rid of this attachment which is making my Life impossible… I need to implement a solution, a cure… “
Observe your conditioning to believe that BEING can change through DOING something. The “cure” is there; but if you are not able to be AWARE of it, then you may need to read some self-help books, spiritual best sellers (Tip: Look for the how-to titles) and ask for advice to an “expert” who has studies to tell you what you have to DO with your life, for a “small” fee…
There is no one better than “you” to observe “you” and learn from “you.” 🙂
Enjoyment of the movement of Life is the main requisite to “learn” about detachment.
Everything is change, constant change, to flow with that is to be all right with Life.
To trust Life.
As soon as a piece of “I” touches that continuous flow, that is the point where the “I” acquires some expectations which will give greater support to that sense of being “Me” different from everything else.
By all means, open all the doors that Life offers. Experience. The expectation to find something “good” for you in a particular door is the set up for suffering.
The “I” will experience exactly what it needs. It is that “knowledge” which brings the necessary trust.
When we trust Life, we enjoy it.
It is in that realization how we could observe that “making effort” to be “detached” in Life, is plain repression.
Of course, the above realization or description of “my” experience is not related with a religious or traditional view. This is not “spirituality for the masses,” for “everyone to understand.”
In my experience, natural detachment, which occurs out of enjoyment of Life and its changes, is a prerequisite to know Love; that is to dance with “what is” out of appreciation.
There cannot be “love” unless there is enjoyment of living. There cannot be love if there are expectations.
Lost in words, we could say “we need to be loving and detached.” That is just a description of a state of being, which cannot be attained by “doing” things.
Lost in experience, I could say… Just enjoy Life with its different experiences.
This is not something that happens out of following an artificial method or “making effort.” This is something that naturally occurs when we are enjoying the moment without caring about or labeling “how the moment is.” It is just the moment.
The “I” selects, rejects, accepts and judges every moment. As that “I” withers away, what is left is that observer who enjoys the “trip.”
A “detached observer”? or a “witness”?
It is an “Enjoyer.” 🙂
To be conscious, to be aware is a great gift. Do we take it for granted just because everyday we experience it?
Everything will change. Every moment is unique. Not special but unique.
Detachment and Love are not “virtues” to attain, to “work on,” to “make effort,” to know or to “practice.”
If we do that, we could merely repress our current state of consciousness.
Enjoyment of Life. That is the key. Everything else follows that.
Life is change. Enjoy the change.
Life is unpredictable. Enjoy that lack of certainty.
Life is … Forget the label and …begin to feel it, because by feeling it, there is nourishment and when we are nourished, we could give…. Love.
The keyword to use in “Spirituality” is “witnessing” or to be a “detached observer.”
Accordingly, to reach that state is the highest a human being could attain… 🙂
Witnessing or being an observer and participant of life is a state of full integration with “what is.”
The word “detached” adds further misunderstanding.
Misunderstanding will occur if we would allow ourselves to just follow the dictionary meaning of those words. We need to remember that those words are a “distortion” of “what is,” and so will be these words… nevertheless, the sharing shall continue on.
Who is doing the witnessing? Who is being a “detached observer”?
If the answer is “I,” that could be anything but being a detached observer.
Ananda would like to use the words “observant and participant” to describe his realization.
Let us say that Carl witnessed a car accident. The people inside the 2 cars colliding at high speed, were in a “poor” condition. There were tears of pain, rage and fear surrounding the accident.
Carl is a “spiritual” person. Therefore, he decided to send “good wishes” to people in the accident.
It is indisputable that Carl has separated from the scene and made the decision to be a “good person” by sending good vibes and then becoming “detached” from the scene by continuing on his path.
Carl could have made the attempt to “help” the people, but that wasn’t his “karma,” he thought.
Carl acted from an intellectual standpoint by following his belief system.
Was Carl witnessing or being a “detached observer”?
No. He thought he was, but he was actually playing indifferent towards what happened.
To witness or to be a “detached observer” is not to separate from “what is.” It is the complete opposite. To integrate into “what is,” but not as a person, as an “I” thinking: “I am part of everything.”
That is a belief only.
Witnessing is not possible in the consciousness of self. Any religion or philosophy, which validates its teachings on the existence of self, cannot understand “witnessing.”
Therefore, we could see that “witnessing” or being a “detached observer” is not a “practice.”
No one could practice that.
It is a state of consciousness, which is void of beliefs and emotional baggage.
Witnessing is not “attained.” It happens.
Observe the world. If you believe that “I am” something or other, that belief will not allow someone to be an observant because there is the “I” of separation from “what is.”
If we go back to the car accident episode, the minute Carl had the belief that what happened in front of his eyes was “bad” then, that belief will not allow witnessing to appear. If Carl felt sorrow, he wasn’t a witness anymore. His emotional baggage was triggered by the event.
What should be Carl’s behavior then to be a “detached observer”?
To ask that question means not to understand what is being conveyed.
Witnessing or a detached observer is not a behavior.
If Carl has worked in observing his beliefs and how emotions have appeared because of that, then it is in that inner work how the state of integration with the Totality appears, because there is no separation with “what is” when we become empty.
That is emptiness.
Less “stuff “ in our heads means greater openness to “what is.”
Greater feeling of gratefulness and appreciation of “what is” means greater inner joy. A belief will not allow for that to occur, because a belief will give us a static perception of an ever-changing world.
Some “black or white” readers may interpret the above as “it is better not to have feelings.”
NO. That is not the message. Carl may feel compassion but not sorrow.
Because his state of being, his joy; it is not dependent in what happens around.
To fill ourselves every morning with gratefulness of being, is to fill ourselves with joy and those vibes will be with us to “give” continuously and not because we have in our minds that someone needs our “pure” vibes.
One more time, observe your own beliefs. Observe the belief that we have about ourselves.
Life is an ever-changing movie, which has already a direction, a plot. The perception of the “I” is nothing but a manifestation of that plot through a being. It is through our own beliefs and emotional baggage how a personality is born and with that we deny ourselves the chance to change and to be different. We strive to be the “same”
or we strive to attain some intellectual idea.
Both are not in harmony with the changing nature of Life.
To be an Observant and Participant of life at the same time, is a paradoxical integration of the opposites to be One.
Life is change.
Nothing new in that phrase.
Nevertheless, our attitude and the way a typical human being lives life, is as if life was something static. Something which shouldn’t change… and the illusion is placed in our “efforts” to maintain life the way we “like it” or we believe to be “good.”
Today here. Tomorrow there…
The above phrase will infuse fear in most. Once we “settle down” then life is about the “fight” to remain as unchanged as possible: “Me and everything around Me.” 🙂
This lack of fluency with the way life is, will bring suffering.
Our beliefs are probably the hardest thing to let go. Because of our beliefs, we create suffering for others and for ourselves.
Do we see how suffering is pointing to our inability to free-flow with ‘what is’ without further thoughts?
That may be the meaning behind the most misunderstood word in Life:
When attachment is glorified in our society as “good,” detachment is not the “opposite” of attachment, but rather a label to express “free flow”… Just like a yoga class!
In Life, the opposite of being attached could be negligence, but never detachment.
Attachment is one extreme, negligence the other extreme and in between, there could be detachment.
Detachment is something that could never be understood by looking up the word in the dictionary.
We will be misled if we do that. We understand detachment by going deeply into: “Life is change.”
Jan liked his Jacuzzi at home very much. In 2 months, he was going to move out of the country into a third world country where a home Jacuzzi was not part of the “geography” there.
Jan thought: “I will not go into my Jacuzzi anymore to get used to not having one. In that way, I will be alright when I move out.”
That sounds like a good idea… right? 🙂
Jan is only showing how much attachment he has for that Jacuzzi.
Paul heard about Jan’s idea and he advised Jan: “ You should do the opposite. You should use your Jacuzzi more often while you can, because later you will not have it.”
Paul’s idea seems logical, nevertheless; it also shows attachment.
How is it possible for 2 opposite views to have the same result?
Because both views are not “free-flowing.” Those 2 opposite ideas are just mental solutions born out of attachment to something. There is a “knowing” that this something will go away soon.
Attachment comes at the mental level when there is a need, when we are “hook” into something or someone. To step away or to become closer while we can, shows the same thing.
This is the paradoxical aspect of attachment.
We cannot be detached by “thinking” about it, by finding an intellectual solution. It requires our ability to enjoy life as it manifests without rejecting it or “making the effort” to accept it.
Someone who flows in life, someone who is detached will live the moment. If he feels like going into the Jacuzzi, he will do so without letting his mind go into the future or the past.
To deny yourself something is as dangerous as to indulge into something… whatever that is.
and here the paradox of enjoyment:
When you are detached, you could enjoy.
Only when you are not there, you are…enjoying…:-)
It is in that enjoyment when the seed of love arises.
When Rose learned about “detachment” in her yoga meditation class; it was the first time that she heard that word.
The explanation her teacher gave, was something like this:
“Detachment is good. Attachment is bad. You don’t want to be involved with someone else’s karma.”
The above explanation sounded convincing. It made sense! Rose wanted to put in “practice” detachment. That is when problems started for Rose….
The first ones to know about that new “detachment” business were her family members. 🙂
Rose’s mother couldn’t believe how cold Rose had become. It was as she didn’t care for the well-being of everyone else. If Rose’s younger brother fought with her younger sister; Rose just stood there, watched the fight briefly and left as if nothing was happening. When Rose’s mom asked about that behavior; Rose said: “It is not my karma. I don’t want to be involved.”
Whenever Rose tried hard to implement that “detachment” in her life, the general perception was that she was out of her mind.
Detachment is a misunderstood word in our society.
Attachment is the word used by most to acknowledge care, concern even love. Obviously when Rose wanted to implement something foreign in her life and cultural setting, such as “detachment,” which she was recently aware of, that setting was the preface for disaster in her life.
That is how it became known that: “Those who teach about detachment are aloof birds of a very cold nest.” The stereotype for the masses to believe and follow was set.
“Detachment understood as a dictionary word to implement in our lives, is a complete failure. Detachment as an experience in our lives means joy.” How about this phrase for the quote of the day? 🙂
No one can teach detachment to a human being whose experience and consciousness is ingrained in being attached. As a matter of fact, detachment cannot be taught.
No one can “work on” being detached. It is an illusion to “make effort” to be detached.
Detachment does not come as an intellectual idea.
To say “You have to be detached” is meaningless. As a matter of fact, it is even rude when the intention is to “correct” someone.
We could BE detached, but we cannot DO detachment. Most are only willing to DO detachment, to act in certain ways which their minds believe to be detachment.
To truly experience detachment, an individual needs to experience emptiness, silence of the mind. That experience will automatically bring that individual into that detachment which is non hurtful to others. It is in that experience of emptiness, where “your” detachment will be “their” benefit.
Detachment brings easiness in behavior. It brings a smile in the face. It brings acceptance. It is like being an open door to life, where things come and go without being entangled by them. That detachment is not concerned in intellectual understanding of “theoretical karma,” for that detachment is not fabricated by a repressed mind, who closes itself for fear of being affected by “others.”
When someone feels unhappy because he is not being understood by others, that person lacks appreciation.
When two human beings speak to each other and none of them listens to the other, they lack appreciation.
When we would like for everyone to be the same, to think the same, to feel the same ; in that “ideal” there is lack of appreciation for variety.
Appreciation is not related with a person in particular but is the relationship, the setting, the person, the circumstance, the moment, that special time of being aware, of being thankful for life for having the chance to experience without expectations, without attachments…. For when there is attachment, there cannot be appreciation.
Appreciation then, is to let things be, to allow things to happen, to live in continuous wonder to be in a thankful state without the word “thanks” in our minds.
We can appreciate a spiritual teaching which came to us through a book, a person, a situation, through any other means; but to fully appreciate that teaching, our state of detachment is important, for otherwise; we cannot see; we become engrossed in that teaching, closed minded, so there is no space for anything else, but that literal teaching.
Or we could become totally against it, reject it with our whole being,… on those 2 extremes there is attachment.
We have attachment of an idea, a concept which we call our “teaching.” Rejecting everything else only demonstrates the extent of that attachment.
In that polarity of being engrossed or rejecting there cannot possibly be appreciation.
There is a butterfly flying. I can look at it, perceive its colors, perceive its singular way of flying, perceive the shiny day, the flowers around, the smile in my face; it is in that detachment, in that lack of expectation, when beauty could be felt. That beauty is love.
The moment a thought enters: “I must possess that butterfly,” there is no appreciation anymore. It is like caging the butterfly inside our house so we can see it “forever.” That is the extent of possessiveness that some have over others.
There are some who would rather pin the butterfly in a wooden wall, so they feel that this butterfly is “theirs,” that it cannot run away. The extent of that sickness is demonstrated in their attachment to ideas, concepts, ideologies, traditions, cultural biases, in such a way as to kill the beauty of the butterfly just to hold on to a concept: “the butterfly is with me.”
That sickness is attachment. Pinning the butterfly is not the way to appreciate it.
Many religions and philosophies teach about detachment. “Be detached,” when those words are mentioned to someone who has no experience of appreciation in life; that person will take detachment as another mental sickness: negligence.
Learn to appreciate and detachment will come automatically.
Learn to appreciate others and yourself and your mental sorrow will go away.
Learn to appreciate life, be thankful of it and you will learn to be spiritual.
For in that appreciation there is love… and that dear friends; is all.
“At the root of attachment is fear, and fear also nourishes and allows attachment to remain. Attachment is a way of relating to the world, with people, with things and ideas. It is a mental process and therefore learned. It fights against the natural impermanence of all things. We have a learned predisposition to stick to all things, not just material things such as a beloved object, a house, a gem, a car, but also to relationships, people and feelings. We attach ourselves to work, a partner, a friend, parents, success, power, money, and the feelings and emotions that produce certain things.
This attachment leads to fear of loss and suffering. We know that everything changes constantly, but still the loss or the change makes us afraid.
Living with attachments makes us dependent and prisoners of exterior things because it identifies self-esteem and our reason to live with something that is not me; giving the power over us to other people, things or circumstances, in this way; it moves our own center to something outside oneself.
Living without attachment frees us and empowers us. If we release attachment, despite fear, we will discover the great joy of being truly ourselves and to truly love.
As explained by the monk Swami Tilak, “Everything ages, everything dies, everything is ephemeral. Therefore, attachment is the result of ignorance, while detachment is the result of knowledge of truth. Fear also is the result of ignorance. Because when we have attachment for one thing and the desire to get it, then there is the possibility of fear of not getting it. Also, because we do not want to lose what we have, immediately we become afraid. Because, what we have we will lose, then that triggers fear. It arises from the possibility of losing that. The desire to get something creates in us impatience and we become afraid of not succeeding, fear. “
Malena Zaccagnini Galland
“Love casts out fear; but conversely fear casts out love. And not only love. Fear also casts out intelligence, casts out goodness, casts out all thought of beauty and truth. What remains in the bum or studiedly jocular desperation of one who is aware of the obscene Presence in the corner of the room and knows that the door is locked, that there aren’t any windows. And now the thing bears down on him. He feels a hand on his sleeve, smells a stinking breath, as the executioner’s assistant leans almost amorously toward him. “Your turn next, brother. Kindly step this way.” And in an instant his quiet terror is transmuted into a frenzy as violent as it is futile. There is no longer a man among his fellow men, no longer a rational being speaking articulately to other rational beings; there is only a lacerated animal, screaming and struggling in the trap. For in the end fear casts out even a man’s humanity. And fear, my good friends, fear is the very basis and foundation of modern life. Fear of the much touted technology which, while it raises out standard of living, increases the probability of our violently dying. Fear of the science which takes away the one hand even more than what it so profusely gives with the other. Fear of the demonstrably fatal institutions for while, in our suicidal loyalty, we are ready to kill and die. Fear of the Great Men whom we have raised, and by popular acclaim, to a power which they use, inevitably, to murder and enslave us. Fear of the war we don’t want yet do everything we can to bring about.”
Aldous Huxley, Ape and Essence
“What is needed, rather than running away or controlling or suppressing or any other resistance, is understanding fear; that means, watch it, learn about it, come directly into contact with it. We are to learn about fear, not how to escape from it.”