The Dalai Lama once said, “Attachment is the origin, the root, of suffering; hence, it is the cause of suffering.”
When you are lost in emotional attachments, you are inherently at the whim of something beyond your control. That is why Buddhists insist that accepting the impermanence of all things is the path towards enlightenment.
As such, I have become attached to my journey towards non-attachment…wait. Am I doing this right?
Fuck! There I go again!
But I can’t be attached to my feelings of failure about not being able to be detach from attachments because that un-attaches me to non-attachment. I am so confused.
Wrapping My Head Around Non-attachment
No matter how hard yoga looked before I tried it, nothing has proven to be a greater challenge than truly practicing non-attachment. I can stand on my head for 30 minutes, hold a Bound Warrior III with my eyes closed, and practice Full Lotus on a full stomach.
The physical asanas may be difficult, but at least there are tangible benchmarks I can hold onto. Ahhh yes, now I can kick up to handstand without farting. Yet the mental strength it takes to consciously evolve is a lot more esoteric, vague, unclear, and non-redundant.
When I initially heard of the idea of non-attachment, it almost sounded mean. Wouldn’t I then be like a Mama reptile who ate her babies because, whatever, infant flesh is delicious and I’m not attached to them anyway?
If I am non-attached, does that mean I have to be indifferent and uncaring like a Blade Runnner android? But wait…even they cried electric tears. Isn’t part of being human a feeling that you are attached to the things you love and care about?
Emotional Baggage Detox
Yet, it turns out non-attachment isn’t about being unfeeling or about repressing your emotions—which I am pretty good at, considering my New England upbringing. Don’t ever admit you are cold, Toni! Keep it in! Non-attachment is more about allowing feelings to pass through you, much like explosive diarrhea.
Of course, you are going to have impulse reactions to your life, but that doesn’t mean you have to obsess about them. Like everything else, your feelings will change.
This goes for both good and bad events. If something amazing happens to you and you have great success, at first you may feel elated, but soon it won’t seem like that big of a deal. Or when someone breaks your heart, and you feel like your insides have been churned like butter. That, too, will eventually go away.
The point of non-attachment is not to ignore your emotional reactions. ~Toni Nagy
Feelings are an incredibly potent tool of teaching. If humans didn’t feel scared when a sabre-toothed tiger was running after them, then we wouldn’t be here today.
If you didn’t feel shame, anger, love, laughter, then we would never know how to behave. We would just sit around staring at one another like actors at a call back. Yet, when you have the conscious awareness that whatever feeling you have, no matter how extreme, is only momentary, then you are truly free.