The Wisdom of Non-attachment


She is aware that her growing attachment towards her family is unhealthy and yet she cannot help getting herself out of that sticky feeling. She fears that she may not be able to handle herself if ever anything was to befall her loved ones. She seeks for guidance trusting that meditation can heal her woes.

I listen ardently and see that there is no way out for her, at least at this moment – as the foundation work is not done. And I invite her to ponder on a counter question which I offer lovingly. Do you know your reasons to this attachment? She shrugs her shoulder to express her vulnerability. As I browse around for further replies, many answers come across the floor assisting her in the answer – insecurity, separation, fear of losing and specialness.

Not that all those feedbacks are incorrect – in fact they are valid reasons to attachments – but to bring out the very essence of that woe I simply state that it is because we have not fully realized that nothing can be attached, even though as hard as we’d like to try not to thread that path; we are caught in attachment again and again. A sense of quietness prevails across the floor. And I further illiterate – it is by ignoring this basic fact that we have to keep repeating our attachment, having the idea that we can attach, to possess. Not that we like to attach, as if we do not have enough on our plates to chew; we have no other choice as it is not us who are attached but rather the idea that caused the attachment.

This idea has not been resolved and thus attachment has to continue. Attachment is not the problem, as it only arises because of a wrong idea. But this idea could only exist because the mind has not seen any other contrast than this. Imagine if two scenes are to be presented to the mind – both of contrast reflecting its opposites – whatever pick made from either, is based on the wisdom of the observer. We only choose what we already know. We cannot know what we do not know. Hence if a new opposite scene were to be introduced to the mind, where the mind has not seen before – a scene that nothing can be attached to, than the observer herself will truly experience firsthand the contrast of the former, thus allowing the mind to naturally turn towards what is true to her. This new understanding becomes her new operating system, so to speak, and what follows is the natural detachment undoing itself.

The question is what scene would one be able to realize the folly of attachment, that nothing can be held on and from it detachment arises naturally? Detachment cannot be done through intellectual rationalization or reasoning, except to be realized. And this scene has to be found within the mind, not out there in the world. To experience a new way of living, the cause of it has to come from within the mind, the source itself, as it is the mind that determines the way we look at the world.

To experience directly the nature of impermanence of things – as they perishes, the very moment it arises – and that one has no control over this process – that there is no “you” in those processes, seeing them as meaningless as it comes and goes, brings about the realization of “non-clinging” to maturity at that point. “Things” is to mean the processes that occur in the mind and body, being experienced by the mind and realized through wisdom. The summation of trilogy – realization of impermanence, coupled with no-I and meaninglessness, brings forth a new understanding that has never been experienced by the mind before and bring forth a new perception – that nothing, entirely, can be held on – hence a new idea is born.

If this scene is viewed repeatedly, again and again in the mind, non-clinging naturally becomes apparent. It is not an overnight overcoming of the entire clinging as within the deep abyss of the mind, there are multiple facets of clinging – clinging to consciousness, to perception, to feelings, and to mental formation – in short, clinging to self. The little, little, repeated reviewing of the trilogy, leads momentary freedom to the ultimate culmination of Freedom – enlightenment itself.

From here it dawns upon one that it is not a training of non attachment per se, but rather the idea of attachment that can no longer exist due to right perception coming into scene – the perception of impermanence, no-I and meaninglessness. And that could only ever happen when one looks deeply into the mind.

Thus the spiritual journey of ultimate freedom is not of any kind of creation but rather undoing itself. And that there is no wrongness in attachment per se, or rightness to detachment as it is not a matter of right or wrong but simply to understand the true nature of the working of the world – the mind itself. That each every cause has its own effect, and cannot be otherwise.

4 Replies to “The Wisdom of Non-attachment”

  1. I came across recently….”i’m reminded of Siddhartha during his period of renunciation. How can one live a life of detachment while being so completely and devotedly attached to the idea of detachment?”

  2. Obviously the person who wrote that has not experience detachment! Detachment is not an idea but a realization and hence becomes the nature of the Buddha. But for us who are still on “this side”, the information we got is just an idea and we try to put detachment into practise – obviously this is insanity as it is not a practise but rather a realization. And when we can’t get what we want it becomes a pain and we conclude that detachment is an attachment. Haha so so funny.

  3. The process of detachment happens naturally and cannot be of conscious doing. What I mean by ‘cannot’ is that it is simply impossible to mimick an idea of detachment to experience detachment.

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