In Buddhism, we have teachings centered around non-attachment. But how do we apply this and make sense of it as laypeople – with romantic partners and close friends and kids and family and pet people?
And aren’t we also encouraged – neigh urged – in our particular mindfulness tradition, to take refuge in the sangha? To lean on and lean into our people for love and support, care and connection?
How do we reconcile this paradox?
I think I figured it out. Ready?
I think what it comes down to is that it’s not that we need to love, depend, and rely on our people any less than we are – it’s not that we need to un-attach from them, necessarily. It’s that we need to simultaneously love and depend and rely on our own self too. We need to enjoy and revel in our own company, just as much as we enjoy and revel in the company of our closest people.
Perhaps non-attachment, then, refers to our ability to keep good company with our own self, right alongside of giving mad love to those we adore and cherish when we’re in their company.
Day 15 – Today I sat for 10 minutes. It felt like a natural progression to increase my sitting time by a few minutes.
The picture above I took just minutes ago. I find it illustrates beautifully the great challenge of life. What is the great challenge you ask? From what I can tell, the great challenge is grasping. Interwoven with grasping is attachment and interwoven with attachment is delusion. Every difficulty we encounter or create in our daily lives can be linked to grasping, attachment, and delusion.
The daffodil above is a vision of loveliness. Its golden petals are in delicate balance. It is beautifully unfolding and its vibrance is set up magnificently against the cobalt blue of the bottle. Yet soon it will wither and die. The flower will not last long in its current brilliant state of being. If we are caught in grasping its form, as it exists today, we will be saddened and disappointed when it starts to wither. Looking deeply we can see that when we are caught up in grasping we are also attached to something. In this case we would be grasping its beauty and attached to how it existed in the past. The delusion is that the flower is of a permanent, unchanging nature.
This is a simple example that may be easy to understand. However, this is also how we interact with many things and experiences in our daily life. We often grasp at thoughts, views, emotions, events, people, places, and things. We often get attached to how things used to be or are supposed to be. And we often get stuck in our delusion that life is permanent, unchanging, and separated into realms of right and wrong.
It is not the unfolding of life that causes upset and difficulty to arise, it is how we relate to it and move forward.