Attachment issues are part of being human. We are conditioned into it in various ways from birth, so it isn’t something to feel guilty or inadequate over. However, as we get older and forge relationships with other people and connections to material things, it’s important to mitigate how much weight we allow ourselves to give these attachments.
Being unattached to someone, especially a loved one or a partner, may sound cold. We may think, “If I’m not attached to them, doesn’t that mean I don’t love them?” But it doesn’t mean that at all. It does not mean we’re not loving, supportive, committed, or loyal. It simply means we are free to experience gratitude with every moment, and free others from fulfilling expectations or impossible standards we’ve assigned to them. Unattachment is actually a secular Buddhist ideal, and allows us the rawest form of human contentment and purpose.
Another perspective of approaching the concept of non-attachment, or even detachment, is that it’s a redirection of our energy source. It doesn’t mean we aren’t giving our energy to our loved one, but it means we are no longer demanding our own energy, from them. We learn to pull our vital energy from something bigger than ourselves, and bigger than the people we love, so as not to burden us and them with that expectation. The result of not learning to do this can be quite literally draining; we drain the energy from that person.
This is because attachment really is, in its rawest form, a projection. Attachment to personal objects or to other people is a projection of an ideal, a hope, an expectation of how we want to be loved, and how we want our life to look, our future to unfold. It’s a form of control, even if we don’t see it that way. We project our attachment onto people and things, with the expectation that those people and things will now make us happy. But true joy in life comes from within, and a sense of true groundedness.
Deepak Chopra says that “impermanence is not something to be afraid of. It’s the evolution, a never-ending horizon.” This quote resonates with us at Âmé as we recognize our own attachments. It’s not to say we can’t love fashion and beauty, or cherish our lovers and partners. But removing ourselves from the deep rooted attachment to these ideals allows us to live freely, as well as our partners. Releasing attachment strengthens and progresses a relationship, rather than compromises it.
The idea that nothing is permanent also may sound cynical to some, but we need to remove ourselves from that perspective. The notion that nothing is permanent simply encourages us to live in the present; to embrace the now, the laughter, joy, peace, and love that we experience moment to moment. Then we can be grateful for what we have, each singular second of our waking life.
The idea of impermanence is less of an “idea,” in and of itself. It’s the act of embracing the fact that everything in life without a doubt, is impermanent. A Zen Master once said “Everything breaks. Attachment is our unwillingness to face that reality.” When we face that reality, we don’t become asexual, unloving, unemotional. We become even more sexual. Even more loving, in that we unconditionally accept people, especially the ones we love, for who they are, and respect their journey, even if it means away from us. We embrace our emotions as they come, and let them pass. Being unattached means becoming whole.