By Ron Murdock
Non-attachment does not mean a person stops caring or not getting involved, it means standing back when necessary to take a good look at any given situation. Only then can a person make a good judgement on what to do. Rather than setting up walls or barriers, non-attachment provides the distance needed to keep things in perspective. Being attached or expecting a particular result is a primary cause of suffering. Thus the natural flow of life is blocked and more disappointment is created than what is wanted.
How life is viewed is critically important. Life is just too unpredictable and uncertain to be meddled with. No one is guaranteed five more minutes of life, so it is wise to make good use of the time you do have. Make at least occasional reviews of your thoughts, habits and activities to make sure your motives are on the up and up.
Desire, hatred and the ego are used to try to gain specific results, but the impermanence of life nullifies this as our cravings are fleeting and every changing at best. The attitude of ‘I’m better than anyone else’ needs to be dismissed as the reality of life will knock this mindset around when given the chance. It’s bad enough when an individual develops a morally superior outlook but it’s worse when a group grabs hold of it. The ego, individually or collective, gets in the way of the non-attached habit of looking at things.
An individual can’t change the world but they can change themselves. Giving in to yearnings is like chasing the wind; it will never be done or totally satisfied. Our desires come and go, eventually disappearing. Therefore it is wise to view everything in a skeptical manner. People are born; live for an undetermined time span then dies. At this time one passes to whatever awaits them. No one really knows for sure what happens after the moment of death. Possibly all consciousness is lost and everything they do is forgotten about. This shouldn’t depress anyone to the point of suicide or go into a deep funk. But it should keep them from needless attachments. Life can still be enjoyed without the faulty expectations.
Any attachments to expected outcomes needs to be kept in check as it can become like an out of control blaze. Or we could become slaves to them. We have to reflect on what giving in to these desires will bring to us and any consequences that may come our way.
To counterbalance this, one can develop a contented inner world which will offset our selfish urges. We have to place limits with over eating, drink – especially with alcohol, the Inter-Net and sex. When used as a tool, all of these things are good, so the key here is to use them in moderation.
One day I would like to develop more compassion and patience than what I have now to counter balance all the negativity and complaining I have encountered so far in life.