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How to Be Committed and Attached While Detached and Free at the Same Time
If the soul, your essence, is the smallest little dot of your being and is covered by layers of ego personality and there are layers for each experience of your life, how can you ever find it? Each layer is another illusion. Illusions are how we have interpreted situations and developed certain characteristics and because of that, we create an infinite number of layers to our personality, as each illusion creates another layer by causing another misinterpreted experience.
Then there is the body and the body has more psychological layers due to its physical injuries. For example if you hurt your arm, you develop a limited range of movement, or if you nearly drowned, a fear of water is created, or fell off a horse, then a fear of horses, etc. Psychological fears are created due to physical experiences and stored in the body.
Every physical injury has developed a new layer. Emotionally, heartbreaks also develop more layers. All these layers are preventing you or your soul essence from being released, realized and actualized preventing you from really living because you are kept in the prison of your own mind.
We must remove these layers in order to have a spiritual experience and truly be able to live. Any inhibitions, fears or limitations, emotional or physical, need to be overcome which is to remove those layers. It is as simple as breaking habits because all of these layers become habits as much as characteristics. Your character is merely an accumulation of habits. It is very feasible to change any habit, some easier than others, but changing your habits removes the layers which then allows the potential of a spiritual experience to occur.
These layers are what the Buddha referred to when he said that all is illusion. Our beliefs and fears that control the way we live from moment to moment, our habits, tastes, mannerisms and everything else that makes you you, are all illusions. They are all built on your subjective personal interpretation of the events that you experienced and your view of what happened.
One of the major problems is the concept of attachment and commitment. Due to the heartbreaks, from love to business, many people have developed a fear of commitment and attachment, fearing the pain will recur. Another major problem is the misinterpretation of the spiritual teachings which have been inadequately translated and thus misinterpreted.
The teaching to have no attachments is correct, but english is a very limited language and those few words make the teaching into a completely different lesson, giving a global concept to a subtle and complex lesson.
Like many other things, attachment has a positive and negative application. Negative attachment is what we must avoid, however positive attachment which in fact is more neutral, is necessary for spiritual growth.
Let us first look at the negative side of attachment. This is more accurately described as possessiveness built on desires. Desires also have a good and bad side to them. It is not the emotion but the subject that is the problem.
You can desire a new car, house or diamond ring, but you can also desire to give charity, help the poor, improve your character, etc.
So now we have established that the idea of having no desires is not necessarily correct if taken literally and across the board, likewise, attachment can also be a positive emotion.
Attachment to something in the negative sense as we said is possessiveness, and that is bad. This is because you want it all for yourself, you do not want to share and you do not want to lose it. That is understandable if it is some valuable material object, still not a good emotion, however normal. When it comes to people, that is completely unacceptable and very destructive. This is also the reason that many people who aspire to be so called spiritual defeat their own goals by avoiding such emotional attachments which subsequently shuts the ability to love.
Emotions are the essence of our being and a very profound essential part of spiritual growth. We cannot have pure emotion if we are rejecting anyone or any feeling due to the false concept that to love means to be attached and being attached is counterproductive to spiritual growth.
That entire concept is counterproductive to your growth, ironically done in the name of growth. Preventing yourself from positive attachment which is really commitment means you have prevented yourself from being committed to anything, including your own search for truth. All emotions are interconnected and when one is inhibited, so is the other.
If you are not committed because you have inhibited the function of that emotion such that you simply do not have the ability to commit to anything or anyone, then your growth cannot progress. If you are not truly and fully committed to your growth, then you cannot succeed, this you must know already, but have you explored it further than an intellectual concept?
I encourage you to become committed and attached to another person, to your goals, to your spiritual aspirations, but first or at least starting now, learn that you can be committed to a person or thing, but if they go away, that is nature. Nothing lives forever, not you or anything else. Accepting this truth allows you to be committed knowing that time will take all things away, so you can be committed until the day it or you leave.
And so we have come down to the essential point, the acceptance that all things will die or leave, or you will die and leave them. This is the essential truth of the universe that humans strive so diligently to avoid, and that avoidance is the cause of your pains and layers.
Let me tell you a true story. Some friends had been caught in the tsunami in Samoa, two adults and their kids, 18 and 12. The woman made a comment to me when they got back home, that their son saw things that a 12 year old should not see. He saw dead people.
I thought of this and considered my time in India, how death is a normal part of life, corpses are left out in the open for everyone to see, death is a reality. In western culture death is hidden completely and so we do not develop the realization that all things are impermanent, thus we live in a great illusion.
This woman has not handled the experience very well, remaining emotionally upset for quite some time, which is understandable of course. However the fellow, who was raised in Africa and has seen death while he grew up, basically took this as a big swim and has had no emotional troubles at all.
This shows how being overprotected and avoiding reality makes us weaker. Any weakness requires extra protection. Accepting the realities of life and nature makes you stronger and you do not need protection. If you do not need protection, you have no need for the layers which are there to protect your ego from pain.
This is a truth that sets you free. Death is the ultimate redeemer after all, no more mortgage, taxes, job, headaches, nothing! But that is the lighter side. Our problem is that we do not know what happens other than the relief of these material burdens, and that uncertainty causes fear, and fear causes avoidance, avoidance cause a life of illusion.
Accepting reality is the only way to freedom of experience. Freedom to feel all emotions, attachment without pain, commitment without binding chains. Allow yourself to be committed, free and involved, and you may find your heart opening in amazing ways.
This is the power of a child. Any parent will tell you that the emotions they feel towards their child are indescribable. We can all feel this even without children. The reason it takes a child to bring out these feelings is that you have full commitment and attachment to your child, all the layers are helpless to prevent you from blocking any level of emotion, at least in other than some rare cases which do happen.
Pure love itself is not the path to God. Rather it is the ability to love, which is the removal of the blocks that open the door. Break your habits, change all you can change, let go of your inhibitions, allow yourself to be a complete new person each moment and after some time, when you stop intellectualizing this, fighting with resistance, perhaps you will begin to understand.
Spiritual experience equally to human experience requires an open heart. The heart is closed off by fears. The ability to be truly committed indicates an open heart. Commitment itself if not the value, it is that it indicates the heart is open, and the open heart is the only thing of value. Now we are faced with wanting to be able to commit to a relationship, using the most obvious example but this applies equally to your business if your goal is to make a success out of anything else, but you are not able to feel that commitment.
This is where many people have taken advantage to write books and teach workshops about helping you overcome your fear of commitment or how to tell if a person is unable to commit. What if you are able to commit but simply have not met the right person or found the right project to be able to bring out that whole hearted commitment.
I say this because you may be fine indeed, not need any help, but still not feel a devotion to anyone or goal. Sadly there are many false teachings out there who take advantage and mess people up more than they really are.
There is a book written about how to tell if a man is scared of commitment. It listed 10 things a man will do that should be red flags to the woman. It shocked me to hear that these things are all wonderful qualities that every woman wants.
“He calls often to say how much he likes you.” “He opens the car door and is a perfect gentleman.” These are a couple of points that are in the same line as the entire list. All wonderful qualities, however they are also the tools of a good manipulator who just wants an easy fling.
So it is true, we must all be cautious, but also be cautious about taking advice and applying it across the board which may lead you to miss the right opportunities. This is one reason we have a problem with commitment, too many misleading and conflicting instructions paralyze you with fear in confusion. Perhaps the printing press and internet have not helped us as much as we think. In spiritual schools, an essential point is to follow one and only one teacher. This commitment is required to prevent conflicting or confusing thoughts entering your mind which just keep you stuck or moving backwards.
Back to the point, if your heart fears attachment or commitment, then you will not be able to attain any spiritual or personal growth. But trying to fix a problem that does not exist will create a problem. So if you have not been able to be committed, maybe you have a problem, or maybe you just have not met the right person or project.
By finding the real issue, you will be able to correct it. Meanwhile all you can do is consider why you may not be free in your heart in each situation and look at your own mind and thoughts. What is ruling you, why are you avoiding letting yourself fall in.
We have all heard of the idea of dying a martyr and getting 70 perpetual virgins, which of course is something not worth discussing. But why I bring that up is to show you the source of that twisted promise as the essence of being able to be committed and fully love.
That promise is an interpretation of a paragraph in the Koran. The original text which has not been changed if you read the Koran says; The martyr will receive the beautiful eyes.
I have written an article on my interpretation of this saying and its meaning, “A Heaven of Perpetual Virgins, Sex and God” but briefly let me say that the martyr is one who dies in the service of God. What or who dies? It is your ego personality, that which resists. When your ego dies, your soul is free, but that death is explained well in the new testament with the saying; “I die daily”. The true martyr is one who sacrifices his individual ego personality in the sake of his pursuit of God.
And the beautiful eyes, if you take the saying literally and imagine the most beautiful large eyes with big black deep pupils, so mesmerizing and enchanting that you just fall into them, without any effort or resistance.
Let go of your ego, your opinions and allow yourself to fall into the beautiful eyes of your lover, without any thought of yourself, fall as if you are on the top of everest and if you allow yourself to fall off you will fall into the land of God, but do this without thought, just let go and fall.
To summarize this rather long essay, if you think you are seeking the Truth of the Universe, and you have decided that commitment and attachment are evil and to be avoided at all costs, you have in fact closed off your heart and thus prevented yourself from achieve the growth you seek.
Allow yourself to be committed and attached with the caveat that you cannot control anything and that one day you will be separated from who or whatever that is. Live freely with this knowledge, appreciating the time you have, moment to moment, living in the full present rather than the future or past. This will remove the layers of fear and inhibition, while you also work towards breaking any habits or patterns that keep your heart closed to some degree.
Allow yourself to ‘die’ and fall into the beautiful eyes that mesmerize the coldest of hearts, and you have a chance to begin, if your heart is opened and pure in this way, to meet Truth face to face.
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