Today's pic is sponsored by Honda.
Test drive the new CR-Z today!
No, not really.
Is it possible to achieve all this yet live in today's modern society, still cultivate relationships, even romantic ones? According to what I have learned thus far, it is not possible. For to reach the utmost inner peace, we must free ourselves of "said delusions"- which is defined as attachments to both people and things...achieve inner peace so that we can ultimately help others.
I'LL TELL YOU HOW I understand these concepts, but you should ask a pro. Attachment means your mind gets stuck on something, some goal. Attachment is triggered by desire. Desire for what? You can desire to keep things the way they are, to get more of something (pleasure, attention, spiritual progress), or to get less of something (fear, loneliness, confusion). When your desire is activated, your mind sticks to things, like those sticky hands you used to get at the arcade. Rather then just letting your experience be what it is, the mind sticks to some goal and then starts having a conversation about how to get there.
Say, for instance, you're about to go on a date. Dating triggers your desire to be accepted and be deemed worthy and have a relationship, and you start thinking about what you need to get there. I need to be on. I need to be gregarious. I need to be interesting. I need to be confident. I need to seem like I have my shit together. I need to be likable. Then you might look at your experience and say "oh shit." I'm not on. I don't feel fearless. I'm doubting myself. That can't be confidence. What is confidence? Well, I can be confident if I just believe in myself. What are my strengths? Was that how I got confident last time? Maybe I just need to remember that other people have fears too. Yeah, that's it. I feel a little better now, but I still feel uneasy. Let me think about it a --
Aaaaaand you're absolutely. fucking. insane. You're completely lost in your head and your thoughts are racing. What you're doing is trying to force your experience away from self-doubt and towards this goal of fearlessness. You've become attached to this ideal state, so much that you're denying what's already here. Rather than experience your self-doubt and confusion and just waiting, you're forcing it away. Unacceptable! GRRR. And in that process, you become alienated from your self, alienated from your feelings, alienated from your body. You becomes estranged from yourself. That's real misery. That's suffering.
The whole thing is premised on the incorrect assumption (delusion) that the goal is "out there" somewhere and that attaining it will bring you lasting satisfaction. That the possession and preservation of certain things -- money, success, pleasure, intelligence, confident, likability, relationships, marriage -- and the elimination of other competing things -- self-doubt, confusion, inferiority, "issues," physical flaws, and other things I don't have will finally give you peace. :-) But as we just said, it's precisely this striving and the demands we place on ourselves that generates our misery. Peace of mind is better thought of as a function of your willingness to experience whatever's already here without being in a rush to grow, preserve, or deny, i.e., without having some agenda driven by desire. When you start paying attention to what's already here, it's not so bad. Even boredom, confusion, self-doubt, inferiority, spiritual emptiness, and emotional exhaustion aren't so bad. Eventually you make friends with it, and your innate warmth, joy and playfulness naturally emerge. You're estranged no more.
Of course, you're going to have an agenda at first. We all do. You don't have to beat it out of yourself by repressing it -- that's just more agenda. You just experience what it's like to have an agenda and when it settles, you experience what takes its place. Hm. Interesting.
Relationships trigger a host of desires and related attachments because we think it's gonna be the thing that ultimately fulfills us. We want the recognition, the closeness, the affection and adoration, the lifestyle, the kids, the acceptance, and a chance to live out a picture in our heads of where we expected ourselves to be. And all this makes us completely fucking insane. We start thinking, thinking, thinking, reading books, doing quizzes, having super-serial talks everyday to try and stay the course and keep everything in top form. And in doing so, we become alienated from our feelings and bodies, and by extension, from our partners. Suffering.
That isn't to say that the one should strive to become completely complacent. There are times when you should talk to your partner and make an adjustment. But it's important to stay open with what's happening and not let your thinking and attachments completely overcome you and sever your connection to yourself. The clearest and wisest decisions are made when you're in touch with what's happening anyway.
So the recipe for peace is essentially being honest with yourself. Being honest with your experience rather than denying it or distorting it or trying to preserve it (which is another way of saying you're trying to deny something else). It's being brave enough to be honest and let things be as they are, knowing somewhere that it's safe to do that. It's also being kind and forgiving yourself for not being someone "better." You don't have to deliberately make yourself brave or kind, you can just listen to how things already are, and starting with your breath is a fantastic training tool. Can you lean to
As far as I can tell, a relationship can either facilitate that honesty (especially with a supportive spouse), or it can complicate it. If you stay honest with yourself when you're in a relationship, and when you're not in a relationship, you're good. That doesn't mean you have to announce every single thought and sensation you have to your partner. That's just annoying. You've gotta use your wisdom and intellect to decide what to do with all that content, but that's something that you'll intuitively know how to do once you cultivate your innate warmth and joy and playfulness, i.e., your true self.
So, ridding yourself of attachments isn't synonymous with getting rid of your connections to people. It's better thought of as examining the goals you've inherited and the demands you place on yourself that cause you to deny your current experience and try to force it to be something else.
Sorry for the long post. There was a lot to cover. If you keep meditating and this stuff will all start to crystallize on its own. Then you'll start a blog, and I'll have to run you out of business, because there can only be one. :-o