I’m sitting in a booth across from my friend before we head to a 40-minute silent meditation followed by a “dharma talk.” We’ve done this for the last few Friday nights in a row, and we’re arguing (“discussing”) the concept of releasing attachment. Our difference lies in the fact that I like attachment.
“So, am I not supposed to love my little brother,” I ask combatively. Am I not supposed to want things, to want to feel connection or connected?
My friend is clear that this is not what non-attachment means, … but she’s also clear that it sort of does.
This morning, a decade later, I’m listening to the latest of the 21-day meditation challenges put out by Oprah and Deepak Chopra called “Desire and Destiny.” One point Deepak shared today illuminated this irritation for me:
Desire is often interpreted in spiritual philosophies as a selfish distraction which, when indulged, pulls us away from our connection to Spirit. I believe that desires are seeds planted within to do just the opposite.
I appreciated hearing this from a “spiritual teacher,” as it’s a departure I’ve long held between myself and (what I interpret to be!) the teachings of Buddhism or practices like it. I do want to be attached — I want to suffer from grasping at my desires and my relationships. I want to stoke and spark and rail against and fall apart into the yarn-pulls of my heart and discover what it is they mean for me.
If I don’t attach to them, how can I learn from them?
The subtle-til-they-become-violent nudges of my desires recently led me out of a career that was killing me. A friend suggested during that time that I stand at the copy machine and repeat to myself, “I am grateful to be standing at the copy machine.”
. . . I was not.
And later rather than sooner I made my way into a new career that fuels, inspires, and scares the hell out of me. This shift has brought me into a deeper relationship with and authenticity around how I earn a living that I don’t believe “Detach and Accept” would have taught me.
My attachment to worldly things often wreaks miserable havoc on my serenity, but there has never been a time when it hasn’t also led me toward a richer understanding of myself, and my destiny.