Understanding detachment

The original idea of detachment comes from Eastern mystical traditions, non-attachment being a basic idea in Buddhism, which entered the Western mentality in the second half of the twentieth century, and in this twenty-first century, through another idea Originally Buddhist, mindfulness, is spreading massively at great speed, with the obvious danger that this entails: misinterpretations, mercantilism, ideas drawn from its context, adaptations to the Western lifestyle that are rather deformations of the original concept, etc . We must remember that all this doctrine of mindfulness and also of detachment is engendered in spiritual, even monastic, environments, seeking enlightenment. That’s why I want to expose some ideas about the real meaning of detachment.

Attachment

Detachment is the opposite of attachment, it is lack of attachment. And attachment, is an affective, powerful and lasting bond, established between two people, directly related to empathy, fluid communication between people and of course with love. Attachment is a biological characteristic, because it brings us closer to the one we know understands us, supports us, gives us security, etc. It appears in childhood with respect to parents, which the child sees as protective and loving figures, who are always there for him. But it also appears in adult relationships, as the adult continues to value, but not to the level of need of the child, a security, emotional support, someone who is there unconditionally, having someone like that is of great value to anyone.

Attachment theory (Bowlby, 1988) considers that creating stable intimate emotional bonds with particular individuals is a basic component of human nature, already present germ in the newborn and continuing through adulthood to old age. Psychologically, a relationship with attachment in the adult can take several forms, from a relationship of friendship to a romantic relationship. In addition, one also distinguishes between attachment with security and attachment with insecurity (Cindy Hazan, Phillip Shaver, 1980).

The relationship with attachment and security is based on positive opinions of the person about himself, about his partner and their relationship, both are comfortable with both the intimacy and the independence they leave each other, balancing the two vital aspects. On the other hand, in relationships with attachment and insecurity, there is a fear, an insecurity, a lack of confidence that makes the person suffer when it seems that the relationship weakens, even if it is a false impression, which leads to want to control, tie To the other, to take away independence for fear of losing him. Obviously, this latter form of attachment usually results in relationships with a good deal of suffering, while attachment securely reveals itself as a healthy relationship, as many studies seem to confirm.

The relationship with attachment and security is based on positive opinions of the person about himself, about his partner and their relationship, both are comfortable with both the intimacy and the independence they leave each other, balancing the two vital aspects. On the other hand, in relationships with attachment and insecurity, there is a fear, an insecurity, a lack of confidence that makes the person suffer when it seems that the relationship weakens, even if it is a false impression, which leads to want to control, tie to the other, to take away independence for fear of losing him. Obviously, this latter form of attachment usually results in relationships with a good deal of suffering, while attachment securely reveals itself as a healthy relationship, as many studies seem to confirm.

Attachment and intimacy

Intimacy in a relationship implies that the person reveals something important about himself, opens himself to the other, the person feels validated, understood and cared for, and so naturally there is an attachment to that person with whom we know we can trust our privacy. The person knows that he can reveal his true thoughts, experiences, feelings, desires and fears without fear of rejection or criticism, is entrusted to care and emotional support, may even lead to the will to engage in physical intimacy in the case of potential romantic couples.

A series of studies (Collins and Feeney) show how each style of attachment relates in a different way to the willingness to self-revelation, willingness to trust, and willingness to engage in physical intimacy. The secure attachment style is usually related to more self-disclosure, more trust in peers, and more physical intimacy than other attachment styles in which fear of loss, and therefore some mistrust, makes its appearance.

In short, attachment in the human being, when healthy, that is, without fear, without dysfunctional dependencies, is a relationship of trust, enriching, a knowledge that there is someone available in whom to trust, permanently, stable. It is a safe value, so to speak. So when we talk about detachment, we are referring to avoid insecure attachment. Is true that a enlightened person, a Buddha, don’t need even the secure attachment, but who can say is enlightened now a days?

Detachment misunderstood

Here are some examples that misinterpret the concept, copied from some web sites.

When love blossoms completely, everything simply is. The fear of tomorrow does not arise and, therefore, there is no place for attachment, dependence, marriage or any kind of contract, binding.

Here we have a mess between transcendent, spiritual love, attachment, and everyday love; identifies attachment with fear and dependence, but in any case that may be true when there is attachment with insecurity, the dysfunctional attachment that we have explained. The healthy attachment is entrusted, without fear, the person feels intimately united with another. As for the idea of dependence, taken to the extreme, implies that we are told not to depend on anyone, and that is absurd, life is relationship, it is dependency, we need each other; Again, there is dependence healthy and insane, dysfunctional, there has to be a balance, and in attachment with confidence we have that balance.

Attachment is the desire to never change the couple.

Healthy attachment is no desire for anything, it is rather a relationship of trust, well established. It is clear that we are human, and we can make mistakes, and trust to get lost, but we do not think about it, we are confident, living and enjoying the person.

Love does not know attachment, because love does not know the possibility of losing dignity.

The transcendent love, of which we will speak later, has no object, it simply is, and then it is true that there is no attachment to anyone. But when we touch the ground and manifest love here in Earth, we materialize the love towards other people, and we also receive it from others, it is human and natural that the attachment to the beloved appears to be perceived as of great value for us. So this quote, true for a mystical, non-dual, global love, simply has no meaning in relation to others.

Love is universal. Once your understanding of love flourishes, there is no place for attachment. You can continue to change partners, but that does not mean that you are abandoning anyone. You may come back with the same couple again; There is no place for prejudice.

Again the same mess of confusing love itself, transcendent, with love manifested; following the letter of this statement as a slogan you can not trust that the person is there available, you are as gone, blown, jumping from flower to flower as the wind blows, which by the way, is usually the wind of desire: you join who you are interested in then, then you fly to another place. Surely there can be no attachment, not even the healthy, because you can not trust that person, may be today, but probably will not last too long, because it is uprooted.

The right meaning of loving with detachment

Let us return to the original source of the concept of detachment. Buddha about intimate relationships felt that a man and a woman in a loving and supportive relationship are like a pairing of a god and a goddess. He encouraged people to participate in relationships and enjoy them to their full extent, are wonderful opportunities to practice loving kindness, generosity and mutual support. Therefore, a committed long-term commitment is all the more an opportunity to deepen the understanding and cultivation of these qualities. What a huge difference from the slogans we have discussed before!

The problem is not to stick with the loved one, it is to be attached in an erroneous, dysfunctional way, as we have pointed out. Let us ask ourselves: to what extent am I using the love of my partner to fill a void in my own love and acceptance of myself? A truly healthy individual is one who is complete by himself, and does not need to depend on anything or anyone to feel whole and content. But that does not mean that we must go alone, isolate ourselves from others, or flee from stable relationships out of fear of dependency. It is simply not to depend on someone or something external to me as a necessary condition for my happiness.

That is the ideal: to love without feeling that you need the other. Sure, it’s great to know what the ideal is, but very few people are actually there, because it is necessary to be enlightened to really be so. But the fact is almost nobody is enlightened. We all have moments when we find feelings of loneliness, inadequacy or insecurity. It is a very normal human response to try to compensate for these unpleasant feelings by using someone else’s love to cover them. And here comes compassion, understood as an understanding of our weakness.

So. let’s not get caught up in ideologies of what attachment should or should not be, what is right or wrong. Let us not lose sight of the forest through the trees. A healthy relationship with a partner, is by nature where we open ourselves completely to another person, is a great field of work to understand the true nature of self and other. When we lower our defenses and allow ourselves to be vulnerable to another person, we have the opportunity to deeply explore the nature of our own egos, desires, and expectations. We can challenge ourselves to aspire to an enlightened relationship, which is marked by pure, unselfish and unconditional love. What emerges is an association of whole individuals who do not really need each other, but openly give and take loving support from one another. But that is the ideal. We do not force things, otherwise we imagine that we are already there, but in reality we are fleeing from ourselves, we are afraid of being hurt, of being dependent, of being bound. Fear is never, never a good choice. Let us be human, compassionate, and grow at our own pace.

Motivation and Love

Basically, we are motivated about something when we have a reason to act in a certain way related to the thing. For example, there are many motivations for work thirty five or more hours a week, like enjoy doing something useful for others, or expressing our potentialities through a well-done work, or even simply for money, indeed, this last possibility often is more a need than a motivation.

One meaning of love is to have a strong liking for, to take great pleasure in something. We even can do something simply because we love it. So love is a motivation. Reflecting a bit, when we are doing something we really enjoy, we can say we love do it, no more motivations are needed. Even people working for earn lots of money, do it because they “love money”. Being more subtle, people who work simply for live also are motivated for to live well, for  don’t fall in poverty, because they love themselves enough for act in this way.

So, consider this statement: ultimately, all motivation is based in love for something, maybe for ourselves, for our family, friends, for a well-done work, for power o money, etc. Without love there are not any motivation for act.

Let me go further: all things surrounding us are created by any motivation, so by love; the building where you live, for enjoy a warm and secure home, so for self-love, self-care, the streets, cars, many services at our disposal, are motivated for give a good environment to the society, so for care, for love to it. Thinking in this way, the reader can realize how many implicated is love as ultimate motivation in all the human creations.

Now we go even further: what is the motivation, if any, of life in itself? Science, pragmatically, says as there are not any motivation, things simply happened … although is impressively unlikely the complexity of life arises and evolves without any motive, but science, for their own nature, has to maintain  their statements. What about love as ultimate motivation for life? Why our billions of cells are working together, cooperating in an incredible sophisticated way, for maintain our body alive? Is life unmotivated? Try to consider, for a moment, that love is also the motivation of all life; try to meditate on it, with open mind, without judgment, simply observing the resonances of such concept.

Similarly, all the creation, from the big explosion named Big Bang, up to the present Universe, is an evolution from nothing at all up to cosmos we have and we live into. No motivation? Random creation and evolution? Science must say it, is mandatory for any scientist think in such way, but again, try to consider there are a motivation underlying, a primal motivation, the same from the entire cosmos, up to every human being. Adopting uncountable forms, such primary love impulses, motivates all the dynamic of the cosmos. Try to meditate in it, with open mind, and the results will come.

Take and give

Rediscovering what is intuited that touches you.
And it does not come until you open yourself to listen with your whole being, naked and complete.
And then it does not just come, it explodes inside and it vibrates outside.
Falling in love with the present moment, with no ties to anyone.
Not even with you.
Yes, lover of anyone.
Freedom to create spaces … spaces of love.

Written and shared with me by a student of Mindfulness course

Blog index

2017

  • Contemplative attitude   you are looking for the state of contemplation, through escaping far away, to a calm and peaceful place, but you can adopt the contemplative attitude right here and now

2016

  • Happiness is hidden in a corner of your heart   Happiness is hidden in a corner of your heart. Sleep quiet, oblivious to your anxiety, waiting for you to wake her up.
    Your real being is love itself and the multitude of your loves are its reflection….
  • All that we have, all that we are  A person who lives only in one place, such their thoughts about work and daily obligations, forgetting the rest of their places, is not full living.
  • There is a unique Self Beyond the image given by mind, the reality is one, without any separation. And this unique reality is complex, and can be seen from multiple points of view, having uncountable aspects ans facets.
  • Life’s ups and downs and emotional states …the source of emotional ups and downs, the need of stabilize emotional states for live a healthy life…
  • Luck and attitude in life the real lucky in life is to have a positive attitude towards it … the attitude is completely independent of personal circumstances…
  • Centeredness of attention Centeredness … is learning to stand and stay (in the deep identity) as long as we can. I am that who are seeing, feeling, doing physically
  • The inexistent self of Buddhism, and the trans-personal self The meditative traditions continue where psychoanalysis ends … we cut the roots of the reaction … That eliminates much suffering
  • Untangling … indeed,  desires and thoughts exists thanks to our automatic identification with them
  • Mindfulness: the Buddhist original concept …always keep in mind the path of liberation of suffering
  • Personality development …we really can talk about self-realization, when the person discover their identity working from higher up to lower planes of personality, which is an instrument of expression
  • The canvas of the mind any thought arising in the mind can be seen as a figure, an object, created on a canvas
  • Where are you living? If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present
  • “They say they think with their heads”  the excessive use of intellect in the developed societies is the source of most of our troubles
  • Divine seeds like a seed is potentially a tree, but needs to be buried in the ground for become stimulated to grow, (…) so the soul needs to be buried in the mind and in the matter for become stimulated to grow as a radiant being who knows himself as He is
  • Delusions of separateness Just imagine we stop “looking at the navel” and instead we start to look at reality without mental filters, what we can see then?
  • Identification of the person with ideas, thoughts, opinions There is a natural demand for be somebody, but who? It is this tendency to satisfy the demand to be someone that brings us to build an ego from ideas
  • Reflective meditation, or meditation for wisdom the culmination of the process is achieved when the conscious mind grasps the information of the deep mind on the subject chosen, when we use the mind as a receiver of knowledge…
  • Quietnessis the highest form of intelligence which is never personal, never yours or mine. Being anonymous, it is whole and immaculate …
  • Meditation on individuality and self-realization …the innate potential of individualization uses personality  to create the illusion of the existence of a separate, autonomous individual…
  • The way of knowledge … ordinary mind is so dedicated to fulfil selfish desires than become entangled with them, making a mess named “kama-manas”, desire-mind…
  • Spiritual Psychology …from this point of view, seems we are the first of a new human species, the meditators one, and we live in a transition epoch, at the doors of a new gold age…
  • Evolution of our identity: from little ego up to the Self There comes a time when the person realize he, as an identity, is not any thing, but a pure subject beyond any object or name…
  • A mind inside a Mind …the identity of the person abandon the scene, running away, yet the body alone is able to do the work without “us”. How is possible?
  • Evolution And the stone that sits up on the very top, of the mountain’s mighty face, doesn’t think it’s more important, than the stones that forms the base
  • The key to happiness: a short tale Look into yourself. “Challenge”  God and steal his supreme happiness
  • A Touch of Zen wisdom some quotes uttered by the Zen master Berta Meneses in a lecture, including a personal brief comment
  • The unnoticed anger the anger generated by the frustrated desire make us lose our ability to discern, our “common sense”
  • Searching the “I” We identify with what we are, not who we are
  • Desire can prevent Love be above our desires, be the Lord of our inner world, not their slave…
  • What are we, and who are we? The subject always has been there, unobserved; the field are constantly changing, the subject not

2015

2014

2013

Contemplative attitude

Beautiful-Sky-710x533

Short contemplation

You are walking in the countryside, thinking of your things, paying little attention to surroundings; then, distractedly, you look away and watch a wonderful landscape, it was there for a long, but you didn’t notice it yet. In this moment, your mind stop, no thoughts, no worries, you only contemplate the panorama, and for a short time, you experience a silent and peace mind, a  mind only observing without any intellectual motion. However such state is not lasting, your mind is not trained for to keep silent, and after a moment the thoughts return. But for a moment, you was contemplating.

Escaping

Sometimes our mind exhaust us with tones of worries, remembers, pending tasks, and other stuff. in that times we want to escape to another place, hoping the distance from our habitual environment also be a distance from our habitual thoughts; sometimes it works, up to a point, sometimes not, because we took our mind with us wherever we go. Anyway, for a lot of people the only way to rest from their own mind is escaping to another physical place, or doing something distracting, like watch a movie, talk with friends, etc. All of this escaping ways are short, they are short relieves.

Lasting contemplation

At the beginning of the Christmas holidays I felt the need of escaping: after months of hard, continuous work, days of shopping, endless queues, family meals … come near. I really desired be calm, not all of these Christmas stuff, but, how can tell it to my family? It was impossible. Suddenly the idea came into my mind: wait a second …

you are looking for the state of contemplation, through escaping far away, to a calm and peaceful place, but you can adopt the contemplative attitude right here and now, no need to physically escape, instead, escape from your thoughts now!   

An attitude is a mental disposition, also a mental state related to such disposition. A trained mind can be directed to a mental disposition at will. So, then, I put my attention behind, behind my thoughts, in the center of the mind, an action to which every experienced meditator is accustomed, having done it daily for years: centering the attention in the middle of the  field of consciousness. I wrote about this meditation ability time ago in this blog: Centeredness of attention

The result was I found myself contemplating all my field of consciousness, thoughts included, also external things. The dis-identification of my own thoughts, a natural result produced by the centering of attention, brought me the peace I was looking for.

Ant it really works well … I was able to pass throughout all the “holidays” very peacefully, like I was alone in a far mountains watching a spectacular sunset. Have been the best Christmas I remember in many years. Obviously, the next challenge is keep such state even at work; hope I’ll be successful.

Happiness is hidden in a corner of your heart

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Bridge over the abyss. Source: flickr.com

The river of life runs between the banks of pain and pleasure. The mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it.
You are not passing through life, you are here because you are life.
You are this twig of conscious life rocking on the swing of existence.

vela

The candle flame expands its light. Source: 365consejosparaserfeliz.blogspot.com.es

 

When you discover the flower that springs every morning in the heart of the friend, the love that unites eclipses the mind that separates.
Reason tells you that you are barely anything in the immensity of the cosmos, but the heart assures you that you are everything.
The flower fills the space with its perfume, the candle flame expands its light. Neither the flower nor the flame do anything; and yet they change everything by their mere presence.

surface_mind

Ocean

Every drop of the ocean carries the scent of the ocean. Every moment of your life carries the fragrance of the eternal.

 

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Happiness is hidden in a corner of your heart. Sleep quiet, oblivious to your anxiety, waiting for you to wake her up.
Your real being is love itself and the multitude of your loves are its reflection.

-Mario Carrillo-

All that we have, all that we are

In Spain there are a region, about 400 x 200 km, named Catalonia, with a great wealth of landscapes: nice beaches, cliffs, mountains, lakes, forests, rivers, fields and, of course, little villages, towns and cities.

catalunya

Landscapes of Catalonia

In similar way, but to a much greater extent, in human being many facets of Nature converge: we are corporeal, we have a body made of matter, the same matter that surrounds us, subject to gravity, occupies a space, contains huge amount of chemical compounds. Also, we have living beings, our body is alive, moreover, we contain an astronomical number of another living beings, named cells, all together working in association, with an incredible precision and organization. Also, we have a sophisticated nervous system, we are sensitive, sentient beings, having a huge amount of sensations, feelings and emotions (more than three hundred emotions have been identified), and of course we are intelligent beings. We also are social beings, having a very complex organised society. And at last, but not less important, we are spiritual beings, with moral, ethical, existential doubts, with faiths, and pursuing happiness.

When a traveler arrives to Catalonia, he has a wide set of options for choose: let me see … maybe I’ll visit such little village at high mountains, or maybe I’ll walk in the woods, or maybe I prefer first visit such beautiful lake… no matter with the choice, the important thing is all such places are available for enjoying. And also for our awareness there are many options for live, for visit and enjoy: we can attend our body, feeling their life, also we can visit our emotions and feelings, a rich set of experiences are waiting for us there, or we can choose visit our intellect, a vast field of experiences, intellectual pleasures, imaginations, etc. Very often, people forget we are travelers of our own Universe. Please, remember to visit frequently all these inner places; if a traveler arrives Catalonia and only visit a beach indeed not know nothing of the territory, similarly, a person who lives only in one place, such their thoughts about work and daily obligations, forgetting the rest of their places, is not full living.