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Mark Atwood - Thoughts on Attachment, and thoughts on avoiding it
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Thoughts on Attachment, and thoughts on avoiding it
While I was in Hawaii, I was reading about and practicing meditation.

One of the texts described a technique about attachment.

When you have something you like very much, be it an item, an experience, or a relationship, you should always already remember that it is already broken, lost, ended, or over. So that when it does become so, well, it always was so in your mind.

This seems sad to me, especially about relationships.

Even though it was expressed as "then you will have all the more joy when its there, because it is then a double gift".

Such a lack of attachment, especially in relationships, seems beside the point of a relationship. Unless it's one of just pure mutual use of each other.

It turns being with someone into little more than a longer term form of being in a group line or country dance: "Move to your next partner in the circle, take her hands, and do the steps again."


Am I just being obstinent, "unenlightened", or just entirely missing the point?
Comments
snippy From: snippy Date: June 10th, 2009 11:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think you've pointed out one of the big problems with any philosophy that valorizes detachment, at least for those of us who value individualism.
dip_thong From: dip_thong Date: June 10th, 2009 11:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
If you think that love is proportional or otherwise related to attachment, then sure. However, disengaging the notion of attachment from the notion of love does nothing but remove your fear and hindrances - if you are attached, then you hedge your bets with your love, because you fear this or that which might change the thing you're attached to.
littleone66 From: littleone66 Date: June 10th, 2009 11:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Ask and ye shall receive," The Secret and whatever else it is you believe and you will get it. If you concentrate on something that is broken, then eventually it will break. (BTDT). I'm as unenlightened as you.
rhonan From: rhonan Date: June 10th, 2009 11:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'd say missing the point. The point is to not be so wrapped up in the illusion of permanence that you fail to live in the moment. Relationships do not have a permanent, fixed nature, they are constantly reforged moment by moment. A relationship does not have an independent, real existence, it is the sum total of all the things that create and sustain it. One can love deeply, and for a lifetime, while still avoiding the trap that is referred to as attachment.

I wish I could explain it better, but I'm far from enlightened myself, and have my own battles with attachment to fight.
ioerror From: ioerror Date: June 11th, 2009 09:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think you're spot on here.
awfief From: awfief Date: June 11th, 2009 12:09 am (UTC) (Link)
You understand the point. Reaching Buddhist Enlightenment is a very lonely journey.

You can practice letting go of your ties to a point; I find Buddhism to be too extreme for my tastes.

Buddhism is still a religion.
hearts_treasure From: hearts_treasure Date: June 11th, 2009 12:16 am (UTC) (Link)
It is impossible to truly love and not be attached. Perhaps it means needy. Though relationships should fill needs, to be needy is different.

The only good example I can think of is our relationship with God. He loves, He is attached, he fulfills needs, but he is not needy.
chaosdancer From: chaosdancer Date: June 11th, 2009 12:49 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't know. I mean, considering the amount of time we're alive as opposed to all the rest of time, our time of life is so minuscule that when you consider the really big picture, it's like we're not alive at all. But I sure feel alive. It's not like my life is already over, when I awaken and move around and shower and walk and do all the rest of those lifey things. There was a time when I was living more from the perspective of one who'd already died, and it really sucked. I've decided that if you're going to pay to go to Disneyland, you may as well go on the rides, even if the lines are a pain in the ass and everything is overpriced.

That said, I can sort of understand what they mean by that attachment thing. I talked to Corvus about that the other day. We were talking about re-establishing a relationship and I said I wasn't sure that would be a good idea, but if we were to do that, now would be a good time because I had stopped missing him. I figured out a while ago that when in love, I tend to create an image of the other person in my mind and that's really what I'm in love with. Sometimes that image is very accurate and the relationship is correspondingly pretty healthy, and sometimes it's not very accurate at all. The attachment our simulacrums formed between themselves was already broken at the moment we created it. That's the nature of a lot of attachment in this world.

To some extent we have to do that. Another person's soul contains a whole other universe, and it's very hard for us to take all of that in. We have to make each other into something we can comprehend. Our own history and baggage makes us see our image of the other person through filters as well. And they're also doing that to us, probably with the best of intentions. What we need to try to do, as difficult as it is, is to get down to bedrock and let the illusions die.

So it looks bad, but I think it can be a miracle if the death of illusion leads to an expanded, real understanding of another person. I don't know how to do that all the time, but once in a while I seem to break through, and that's awesome. I live for those moments. But it can irritate other people when you play Kosh all the time, too. :) It's good to not be "on" all the time.
awfief From: awfief Date: June 11th, 2009 11:36 am (UTC) (Link)
I figured out a while ago that when in love, I tend to create an image of the other person in my mind and that's really what I'm in love with. Sometimes that image is very accurate and the relationship is correspondingly pretty healthy, and sometimes it's not very accurate at all.

I think most people do this. Tony (my partner) and I have joked about this: in my mind, he loves pancakes. And in his mind, I love...um, nevermind. ;)

(yes, it can be a bad thing when reality != fantasy....)
hearts_treasure From: hearts_treasure Date: June 11th, 2009 11:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree. Fantasy sure is fun, but when reality hits I am always so disappointed. I think remembering what is real and what is not is key to having happiness. It is good to have a fantasy world, but don't get attached to the idea that everything will be as you imagine it to be.
missdimple From: missdimple Date: June 11th, 2009 12:50 am (UTC) (Link)
I'd agree with the statement, if it used "flawed" instead of "broken, lost, ended or over." I think people are disappointed more in relationship changes when they refuse to understand that nothing is perfect, and life is all about change.
gipsieee From: gipsieee Date: June 11th, 2009 01:29 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm really not fond of that model. One problem I have with the model of Eastern spirituality that has made its way "here" is that it over emphasizes the path of the ascetic. Not everyone is meant to live that path. Not everyone needs to separate themselves from everything in order to grow spiritually. Some folks need to get attached, to fuck and breed else the entire community go the way of the Shakers. Others have different paths.
dip_thong From: dip_thong Date: June 11th, 2009 05:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oddly enough, there's a lot of fast-reproducing Buddhist societies out there. I think the goal is not asceticism, because there's no necessary relationship between attachment and love/sex.
lishablog From: lishablog Date: June 11th, 2009 02:08 am (UTC) (Link)
I agree with you. I've had a couple of relationships that were "never meant to last" and so the whole relationship we knew that it was just a matter of time before we lost each other. It made for a strange thing. Even though there was commitment while we were together, there was always the question of "when will this end"?

I can understand what it means to remember that someone could die at any moment, be gone in a heartbeat, and be lost to you. But even knowing that this person is going to be gone like that, I can't let that be in the front of your mind. If I do, it makes each moment scarier. It's always the end, always the last, and that's way too intense.

But, then again, maybe I'm just way too unenlightened myself. ;)
jatg From: jatg Date: June 12th, 2009 08:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Uh...I think that's somewhat *horrible.*

I did have a missionary companion who told me that every relationship people are in will ultimately end in failure...except for the last one that doesn't.
THAT was was actually a bit comforting for me when I was going through some not insignificant heartbreak.
wurtmann From: wurtmann Date: June 12th, 2009 03:54 pm (UTC) (Link)

Attachment

That is an interesting idea. However, it is a worldly concept. And yes, in that respect it does sound like a line or country dance. However, we are eternal beings. We always existed. We are spiritual brothers and sisters. Some things do last. This earth experience is not all there is. We are more than what we see in the mirror and that pertains to others also. We are all connected. However, we really have no control over others.

We never really "own" anything except our own will because everything else is on loan from our Heavenly Father. We experience a process of aging and change. We were sent here to this earth to be stewards--over our bodies, our minds, our relationships, and our possessions. We also will experience the consequences for our choices.

I "own" Edward as a pet. I know he carries a deadly virus that will shorten his life. That has nothing to do with how much I love him though. I will enjoy his presence every day and not hold back because it will hurt when I lose him. The love I feel and the memories I have cultivated will always be with me. Meanwhile I am doing all the things to keep him as healthy as I know how so that his quality of life can last as long as possible.

I hold similar memories for human relationships and friendships. If someone else chooses a path that doesn't include me that is ok too. They are tending to their own stewardship as they see fit. There may be some pain involved but that doesn't change the outcome. It is very disrespectful to our creator to essentially use and then write off another person as if they were no better than toilet paper.

Our relationship as spiritual brothers and sisters is eternal. Our relationship as families also is eternal if we make the right choices. You are always my son. I believe you chose to come to this earth as my son. I will always love you as my son. I believe Heavenly Father feels the same way towards all of his children--no matter what kind of stewards they have been or are. He always loves us but is not always pleased with our choices. But he won't take away our agency. That is a gift to us.

"Know this that every soul is free to choose his life and what he'll be; For this eternal truth is giv'n: That God will force no man to heav'n.

He'll call, persuade, direct aright, and bless with wisdom, love and light. In nameless ways be good and kind, but never force the human mind.

Freedom and reason make us men; take these away and what are we then? Mere animals and just as well the beasts may think of heave'n or hell.

May we no more our pow'rs abuse, but ways of truth and goodness choose; Our God is pleased when we improve his grace and seek his perfect love."

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Mark Atwood
Name: Mark Atwood
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