Attachment vs Non-attachment
Where to begin when it comes to non-attachment? Why not be attached I hear some ask? What is the problem with attachment & letting the mind cling to sensorial experiences? When should we attach & then detach? (not detaching by pushing away or being repulsed which leads to further destructive behavior, detaching by letting go & seeing things as they really are).
In the grips of intense passion & deep longing to feel loved, how can we replace the most powerful natural drug on the planet [love] to one side & completely detach? Can one love without attachment? Clearly this is becoming quite a dilemma & before one even attempts to manage attachments emanating from the mind of a Klingon, it may help us to understand how the mind desires/seeks/attaches/clings towards entertainment & further pleasures.
Of course if you like your steak raw & sensorial, if you like the illusory world of the senses your experiencing 24-7, just remain cool & calm, stay plugged into the Matrix – no need to even inquire further. However, if we are all brutally honest with ourselves we are ALL attached to something. Usually these minor attachments are disguised as habits therefore justified as excusable; more often than not the attachment forms to the object which is perceived as desirable. Entertaining or stimulating the senses appears to be at the root of our attachments.
Whether constantly checking social media, reliving & duplicating that game on the console until ‘complete’, watching our latest episode on ‘catch-up’, enjoying mild stimulation of the senses via caffeine (or perhaps a more suitably addictive ‘fizzy’ beverage), smoking, placing that current song on ‘repeat’, stimulating the tongue with favourite ‘finger’ foods, planning our next adventurous but ravenous throws of passion with our partner – whichever way the mind chooses to escape its vacuity is irrelevant (or even unimportant to some). What is evident is that the mind always seeks a way to ‘escape’ placidity & replace such with one experience that feeds the boredom, fuels the agitated & distracted mind.
As Ajahn Dhammvidu would assert, this craving or clinging originates with the ego first developing a sense of ‘self’, of a “me/my or I” holding dear to experience (wasting time debating the existence of ‘self’, ‘non-self’ or macrocosmic Self is one we’ll leave for those that way inclined). As Ajahn Dhammvidu clearly & mindfully describes, this sense of self comes into being when the first sensation of mother’s milk is longed for once more. How to locate this warm addictive loveliness? Yes, cry your lungs out until one takes notice & succumbs to the demand! Ego is born, self established & a pattern of behaviour laid bare for time immemorial – the mind will desire/clinging & attach to whatever it desires for pleasure & sheer entertainment.
We could go a tad deeper, really breaking down the mind & its sub-constructions, enquiring to where the nature of attachment actually arises based on sense contact; however, at present this information isn’t of relevance here. I’m sure by now we can see how the mind cultivates its desires, longs to cling & repeat once more, then before we know it a habit is born & a firm attachment takes place. We can be quick to point the one finger at others less strong than ourselves (many battle with inner demons & addiction); but really with the one finger pointing, are those other three fingers pointing straight back at us highlighting our own ‘self’ disguised addictions & attachments?
We’re building some blocks here, setting some stones – leaving the patio construction till a much later date. For now we can begin to understand the mind & how it constantly looks for stimulation of some form or another. If we have a choice to just sit outside in nature & ‘be’ – watch & listen as the natural beauty unfolds between our eyes – would we choose to do so or would we reach straight for the phone/internet & social media? Therefore why to worry, this is just the mind doing what minds do – relax, the game is being played to fruition & the intellectual elite continue to reap the rewards. However, should we wish to step outside this box, begin by looking towards the inside from outside the box – we endeavour to develop non-attachment/dispassion & correct discrimination.
“ So, non-attachment is a state of mind which is full of viveka (discrimination). In fact, we can even call it viveka. Have the ability to discriminate and act accordingly. That is the yogic concept of non-attachment. “ – Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati