THE FREEDOM OF NON-ATTACHMENT
Happy Monday! Today is the first in a series on non-attachment. The practice of non-attachment can be a perspective shifting, life-altering way to view the world and our relationships. Over the next few posts we will be addressing: What is non-attachment? In practicing non-attachment, can we still be “in our lives”, experiencing all that life has to offer? Is non-attachment the same as “detachment”? So let’s dive in!
We’ve heard (or may have even said) things like, “I’m so attached to him” or “We’re attached at the hip”. What do we mean by that? We aren’t actually attached to someone’s hip, but it suggests a metaphorical symbiotic relationship; where one cannot survive without the other. In this case, not in the physical sense but that without the other, we are not whole. Some wear this attachment to another like a badge of honor. Yes, it can make us feel wanted, validated, worthy of love, but I am going to challenge you to see that this type of attachment is actually not founded in the true essence of love and in fact has the potential to cause great suffering.
Attachment can be healthy, crucial even. It starts as soon as we are born. We attach (usually) to our mothers or whoever is our primary caregiver. From an evolutionary perspective, this attachment is necessary. Animals in the wild depend on the mother for milk and food. They also rely on the primary caregiver for safety and a base from which to explore the world. The same is true of human infants. They rely completely on their caregiver to get their needs met.
The natural progression however, is for the baby to wean, grow and move on to start their own families. This is how it goes in the wild, but in our human society, attachment is so ingrained in our culture that we may see it as a normal way to relate to each other. It permeates our songs, television shows and movies. We are bombarded with examples of dependent couples we are supposed to want to emulate. Brangelina anyone?
So what is wrong with loving someone so much that you are attached? Freedom. The freedom of each person to be exactly who they are. The freedom to exist independently of each other and know that they are each perfect and whole. The freedom from expectations. Attachment holds the mistaken belief that our beloved somehow enhances our sense of self. That we are less of “us” without them. Fear and lack are the driving forces behind attachment.
In contrast to attachment, love does not restrict or cling. Love doesn’t try to change another person. True love springs from the divine source within. Nothing can ever be added or taken away, therefore love does not seek to possess and capture. Love can only display its deepest nature by freely flowing and connecting with all other beings.
No person, thing or situation is the source of your happiness. Nothing outside of you can fill the emptiness and aloneness that we all sometimes feel. Now that we have the foundation laid, stay tuned next week when we discuss the difference between non-attachment and detachment and begin the process of learning how to utilize non-attachment techniques.