ATTACH / DETACH / NONATTACH — The Challenging Choice

The Buddhist notion of Nonattachment deserves consideration.  It seems to me to be an ideal approach to emotional connection, but one which is hardly natural.

Our human "default" position is to be highly emotionally Attached to those we love and care for.  As a result we suffer the emotional rollercoaster that is typical–we empathize so deeply that we suffer with them.  In truth we often suffer more than they do.  We worry incessantly about possible outcomes.  Most of these scenarios will never occur, yet we suffer in the present moment anyway.

I personally know individuals who believe that if they do not worry sufficiently about a loved-one some misfortune may occur.  This is clearly a superstitious approach to life and guaranteed to burden the individual unnecessarily.

Detachment occurs as a reaction to someone or something that we consciously decide to abandon emotionally.  This may come as a consequence of being emotionally traumatized by that individual or event.  It may actually represent a form of attachment itself because it may require an obsessional focus in order to retain the desired withdrawal.

Nonattachment involves an attitude of loving concern towards the individual but a release of expectations as to their future.  It does not mean abandoning or ignoring the needs of a loved-one.  It emphasizes maintaining positive thoughts as well as any necessary help and assistance.  It just does not attach to the outcome.  As a result we do not suffer in the present moment regarding what may or may not occur in the future.

As mentioned, this is not a natural or easily maintained state of mind.  It requires meditative techniques to emphasize being present in the moment.  Training is necessary but the outcome may be a reduction in unecessary suffering.

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