The Art of Loving without Attachment
Love is an interesting thing. It seems as kids we are conditioned to believe that if we love someone (or some thing) we must cling to it, grasp it ever so tightly and never let go. For example, if you give a child a kitten they want to hug it and squeeze it, almost to the point of hurting the kitten. Even as adults when we meet someone we care deeply about (if unquestioned) we essentially repeat the same pattern. The irony here is that love is actually pure freedom and its only when we apply conditions or attachment that leads to pain within ourselves.
Starting from within
A key factor to remember is that the essence of love we express towards another is a reflection of the love that we have within. As the saying goes, we can only love another to the extent that we love the self. Your relationship starts with you; how you think about you, how you feel about you, and how you talk about yourself. Improve that and you will see a difference in yourself, as well as what you tolerate as acceptable behavior from others.
Anytime you place your happiness in something or someone you apply conditions to it. When you apply conditions to your happiness you become a slave to that condition. Anytime the condition is threatened you are met with fears, anxieties, stress and your emotions follow. When your happiness is independent of things or people such as work, relationships, objects, etc. Then everything becomes a compliment to your life and not a necessity. Living from this place allows for you to have more inner peace and gratitude.
Love, infinite expansion
Love itself is ever expanding and is only restricted when we attempt to apply conditions around it. When we attempt to grasp or hold onto our attachments with the belief that it is out of love, we actually restrict love and find ourselves with more fear and pain. This causes us to hold back on living life due to a closing off that occurs within. A quick path out of our fears is by dropping into love for when we are in love there is no space for fear.
If you find yourself unhappy with your relationship or life, you will find great benefit in questioning your thoughts and then making the necessary changes. To experience something different you must change an aspect within yourself. As you change your experiences follow.
The mirror of life
Life seems to reflect to us our deepest emotional thoughts. The happier you are within, the more your life is reflected with happiness. The same applies to love, the more love you feel within the more it expands outwardly towards others. A quick example of this is to go out and authentically express your joy at anyone you pass and notice how contagious that becomes. Notice what happens as you smile at another.
Another example is looking at a relationship where one party fears that their partner might leave them. The one with the fears will ends up doing things unconsciously that pushes their partner away. They might come on to strong, or become to controlling or needy, and their partner reacts to this. This causes emotional “highs” and “lows” in the relationship. In this scenario each partner projects their insecurities feeding the cycles, until they either become aware or decide to end the relationship.
From attachment to freedom
To be totally free we must release the desire to cling to life. In this experience we find that life is actually designed to work for us versus against us. It’s only when we try to control the nature of life through force that we are met with resistance. We begin to realize that conflict only exists at the level of thought and we see how it pertains to attachment. Not only does it cloud your mind and impact your intellect, but it also causes you to react to life from fear-based emotions.
Krishnamurti makes some great points on freedom in his book Freedom from the Known. As you practice quieting your mind, you will find there is a natural process to life that is designed to work for you. With freedom from thought, you are able to view everything with a fresh set of eyes as though you are seeing for the first time – without stories and past pain.
Until next time,