It seems that almost no one likes change, unless they decide to change for themselves. Which is rather ironic when you think about it, because change is happening every moment – atomic, human, cosmic – all levels of consciousness have built in change.
Everything changes. No matter how many pictures you take, children will grow and look different tomorrow. They will outgrow their clothes, their games, their needs. The restaurant you loved last year on your vacation – the one on that little side street -will have a new chef, a new menu, or may be a tattoo parlor when you come back again. You cannot hold things still. If you try, you are out of sync with the flow of time, and you are not participating in the flow towards the future.
But people get attached – to circumstances, relationships, places, cars, clothes. If it’s part of the material universe, people can figure a way to get attached to it. But attachment, if you think about it, equates with immobility. Everything is always in flux, so being attached means trying to hold on to something that isn’t really there any more – it’s in the past moment. So attachment doesn’t permit you to enter into the stream of life. The moment you try to hold on too hard to something is the moment that you become stuck.
Detachment, on the other hand, allows you to enjoy each moment, each person, to the fullest. And when I speak of detachment, I am not speaking of it in the sense that you don’t fully engage, and sit on the sidelines watching. Quite the opposite. True detachment allows you to engage in the fullest sense in any activity or relationship, and yet be able to let it go and move on when you choose. The key words here are “move on.” Attachment doesn’t let you move on; detachment allows for motion and action towards the future. Real detachment is a sense of being both the observer and the participant, living in the moment completely. It is not a state of aloofness; nor is it a foolish consistency, continuing to want things that used to be good, or workable, or fun, or convenient.
In short, detachment allows you to experience and move on, not get stuck in the way things were.
This is especially true of “enlightenment” experiences. If you have an experience during meditation that opens you up to broader vistas of consciousness, and then you try to “get that feeling” when you sit down to meditate again, then you are not meditating – you are trying to recreate something, rather than being in the moment, and allowing yourself to be conscious in this new moment.
Attachment fools you into thinking that if you “go back” you will experience the same thing you did before. But that isn’t possible, if for no other reason than that you are different. Detachment affords you the opportunity to be present, every moment, living that moment, and then the next. It allows you the luxury of moving consciously in the stream of time. This is how you contribute to the future – by being present each moment, learning from the past and looking toward the future.
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