DETACHING & “DESIRELESSNESS”

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DETACHING & “DESIRELESSNESS”

DESIRELESSNESS:I said in the last chapter that “detachment isn’t always just from the things we don’t want or like, but also from the things we want and love.” That may sound like you have to forsake everything in order to become a butterfly, which would make becoming a butterfly a lot less attractive to many people. But it’s not true. So let me explain “detachment” a little more; and, as usual, let’s first look at what “detachment” is not…. “Detachment,” sometimes called “non-attachment” or “desirelessness,” is a concept that can be found in all the major religions inside the movie theater; and, as is necessary, it has been altered and twisted so that it doesn’t work for the Human Adults who try it. “Detachment as release from desire and consequently from suffering is an important  principle, or even ideal, in the Bahá’í Faith, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism,  Jainism,  Kabbalah  and  Taoism….  In  Buddhist  and  Hindu  religious  texts  the  opposite  concept  is  expressed  as  upādāna,  translated  as  “attachment.”  Attachment,  that  is  the  inability  to practice  or embrace detachment, is viewed  as the main obstacle  towards a  serene and fulfilled  life. Many other spiritual traditions identify  the lack of detachment  with  the  continuous  worries  and  restlessness  produced  by  desire  and  personal  ambitions.”1 “One  of  the  most  important  teachings  of  Zen  Buddhism  is  non-attachment.  The  teaching  of  non-attachment  may  be  easy  to  understand,  but  it  is  not  easy  to  practice.  Nevertheless, it is very essential to cultivate non-attachment if we are to live a serene and  happy life in a world of constant change…. Our world is a world of desire. Every living  being  comes  forth  from  desire  and  endures  as  a  combination  of  desires.  We  are  born  from the desire between of our father and mother. Then, when we emerge into this world,  we  become  infatuated  with  many  things,  and  become  ourselves  well-springs  of  desire.  Through desire we give rise to attachments.  For every desire there is a corresponding  attachment,  namely,  to  the  object  of  desire.  For  example,  we  are  most  conspicuously  attached to our bodies. When someone threatens the body, we grow anxious and try to  protect  it.  We  relish  physical  comforts  and  the  enjoyment  of  the  senses.  Thus,  we  are  strongly attached to the body. But if we consider this attachment, we will see that it is a  potential source of suffering.”2 One of the main reasons this concept doesn’t work is that it is based on judgment – the judgment that desire is “bad” and desirelessness is “good.” It also contains resistance to  desire;  and  as  many  others  have  pointed  out,  to  desire  desirelessness  is  a  desire  in itself. The truth is there is nothing “wrong” with desires and no reason to resist them or try to live without them. We are free to desire anything and everything we want. Our desires make life interesting and exciting. The problem only starts when we become attached to having  those  desires  fulfilled.  In  other  words,  you  cannot  be  attached  to  realizing  or achieving your desires, so that whether you realize or achieve your desires or not has no effect on your happiness or state of mind. It is not the  desire that needs to be detached from; it’s the attachment to its fulfillment. I  can  well  imagine  the  Buddha  knew  this  and  taught  this,  but  his  followers  either didn’t get it, or couldn’t do it. So they made “desire” the focus of detachment rather than the attachment to the outcome of the desire. As quoted above… “For  every  desire  there  is  a  corresponding  attachment,  namely,  to  the  object  of  desire.” No, no, no! The attachment is to the fulfillment of the desire, not the desire itself! All suffering  comes  from  being  attached  to  the  fulfillment  of  the  desire,  and  being disappointed  when  that  desire  is  not  realized  despite  all  the  meditation,  prayers, visualization and hard work. The suffering is not because of the desire itself. Jed McKenna says it very simply… “All  attachments  to  the  dreamstate  are  made  of  energy.  That  energy  is  called  emotion. All emotions, positive and negative, are attachments.”3 I have any number of desires I’m not attached to. For example, I have a strong desire to build a 65-foot wingsail catamaran4 where I can spend my days as a butterfly sailing the oceans, scuba diving, and enjoying the company of the whales and dolphins. But I am not attached to having that desire fulfilled; that will depend entirely on what my Infinite I wants me to experience. I also don’t have the catamaran as a plan or a goal or an agenda, nor  am  I  doing  anything  to  try  to  make  it  happen  other  than  what  excites  me  in  the moment. I simply have fun with the desire, dream about it, enjoy drawing designs of the boat, and am curious to see if the ripples of my universe flow in that direction. “No  spiritual  teaching  that  talks  about  non-attachment  has  any  right  to.  None  of  them  are  talking  about  this.  ‘Cultivate  a  sense  of  detachment,’  they  say.  A  sense  of  detachment? What planet are they from? They have no idea whatsoever what detachment  means. They seem to be talking about detaching from your desire for a BMW or for Mr.  Right.  Try  detaching  from  what  you  love!  From  what  you  are!  From  everything  that  characterizes your membership in the human race! And that’s just for starters.”5 * * Very briefly,  you  can consider yourself  “attached”  to someone  or something  when that someone or something can affect the way you feel. In other words… …you  are attached  to another  person if something  they do or say determines  your happiness or lack of it. …you  are  attached  to  something  when  it has to be “right” in  order for  you to  feel “right.” …you are attached to a false layer of the ego when it defines who you think you are. The detachment  we’re most  interested  in is detaching  from these layers  of the ego that  have  led  to  a  misconception  of  who  we  really  are,  and  that  detachment  happens automatically  as  we  do  our  spiritual  autolysis  and  discover  who  we  are  not.  We  don’t have to actively pursue or practice detachment; those layers of false identity simply fall away, stripped off the onion and left for trash. As we find out who we are not on our way to finding out who we really are, we detach from those identities in the process.  That is detachment. “You can forget about non-attachment…. You’re putting the cart before the horse.  Non-attachment isn’t a key to liberation, it’s a by-product.”

desirelessness:One  of  the  many  wonderful  gifts  I  have  been  given  by  other  Players  in  my  life happened when I was fifty-five years old and fell in love with a woman who would soon start  to  act  like  my  mother.  For  the  first  time  in  my  life,  she  allowed  me  to  closely examine  the attachments  I still  had to both my parents, even though they were already dead at the time. Needless to say, these were less than pleasant memories. In fact, I cried almost every day for a solid year as I processed this part of my childhood. In addition to loving her, I became very attached to this woman, to the point that how I felt was totally dependent on what she did or said every minute of every day. It was so bad that if she didn’t kiss me exactly right when we said goodbye in the morning, I was devastated and my day was ruined. It  was  the  Al-Anon  program7 that  helped  me  break  these  attachments.  Al-Anon doesn’t teach that you have to leave an alcoholic you love, but that you can detach from them and the effects of their alcoholism, still love them, still live with them, and still be happy regardless of anything they do or say. Once I was able to detach from my parents and my fiancée, my happiness was no longer dependant on anything she said or did, or how she kissed me, and I grew to love this woman unconditionally. So  when  I  talk  about  “detaching,”  it  doesn’t  mean  you  have  to  give  up  anything except  your  attachment.  It  doesn’t mean  you  can’t continue  to  love  someone;  it means you can no longer be attached to that love, or to that someone either. It doesn’t mean you can’t continue to want nice things in your life; it means your joy in life can’t be attached to having those nice things. It doesn’t mean you can no longer find total pleasure in your favorite meal with a good glass of wine; it means your happiness can’t be dependent on whether you get it or not. It means letting go of the cave and your fellow prisoners in order to experience what it’s like outside the cave. It means letting go of the movie theater and your fellow Human Children and Human Adults in order to find out what is true and who you really are. “The process of awakening looks like it’s about destroying ego, but that’s not really  accurate.  You never completely  rid yourself  of ego – the false self – as long as you’re  alive,  and  it’s  not  important  that  you  do.  What  matters  is  the  emotional  tethers  that  anchor us to the dreamstate; that hold us in place and make us feel that we’re a part of  something real. We send out energetic tendrils from the nexus of ego like roots to attach  ourselves to the dreamstate, and to detach from it we must sever them. The energy of an  emotion is our lifeforce, and the amount of lifeforce determines the power of the emotion.  Withdraw  energy  from  an  emotion  and  what’s  left?  A  sterile  thought.  A  husk.  In  this  sense, freeing ourselves  from attachment  is indeed  the  process of  awakening,  but  such  attachments aren’t what we have, they’re what we are.”8 Think of it this way… in order to become a butterfly, a caterpillar has to give up the attachment  to  its  body,  the  feel  of  the  earth  as  it  crawled  along,  the  leaves  it  enjoyed eating, the 4000 muscles it possessed, the hair it used as protection, and so on. But letting go of those attachments is well worth it when the end result is a butterfly with its bright colors, light body, wings to fly, and the magnificent taste of flower nectar. Being a caterpillar is a wonderful experience; being a butterfly is total freedom.

desirelessness:In  Book  Two  of  his Enlightenment,  Jed  McKenna  includes  the  spiritual  autolysis  writings  of  one  of  his students, named Julie…. “My mind is haunted, my thoughts are haunted. I am haunted; possessed, plagued  with  demons! My  mother  is here! My unborn children are here.  My future is here,  my  dreams. Everyone  who means anything  to me, good or bad, pleasant  or unpleasant,  is  here. How do they all fit? How could I have not seen them right away? Of course they’re  here. This is where they are. My attic is me, there is no place else. Whether or not they  have  physical  counterparts out in the  real world is meaningless to  me, just as the fact  that  I  might  be  a  real  person  in  the  real  world  is  meaningless  to  them.  Perception  is  reality. I am possessed by my own perceptions; not by things and people, future and past,  but by my perceptions of them. These are my connections, my attachments. Maybe all I  really am is the sum of all these connections, these fearful longings and graspings. What  is an attachment anyway? It’s a belief, that’s all. A strong one maybe, but just a belief.  And yes, Jed, I know: No belief is true. The pen is mightier than the sword, isn’t it Jed?  You wrote about a sword, but that was just a metaphor. It’s the pen. Spiritual Autolysis is  the power of the pen, which is the power of the mind, the power to see, to see clearly.  Yes,  I  will  kill  these  people  inhabiting  my  mind.  I  will  kill  them  by  clearly  seeing  the  attachments that keep them here. I can see those attachments now. I can see the emotions  at work and I am starting to see them for what they are. I am starting to understand of  what stuff this prison of self is really made.”9  Enlightenment  Trilogy,  called  Spiritually  Incorrect  I hope it is clear now what you are going to do as you go through daily life in your  cocoon,  first  processing  any  physical  or  emotional  discomfort  that  arises  in  your interactions with other people and the world “out there,” and then searching to find and let  go  of  the  false  knowledge  and  emotional  attachments  that  have  formed  layer  upon layer of your ego, defining who you thought you were, until you discover who you really are. “The external searching is only one part of the story. The other part is the internal  part; the slow, painful  sloughing away of self, layer by layer, piece  by piece.  Spiritual  self-debridement. Some layers of selfhood just fall away, some tear off in long strips or  flabby  hunks,  and  some  have  to  be  meticulously,  pain-stakingly;  surgically  removed.  Everything I had become in decades of life I now had to unbecome. All I really was was  belief,  so  everything  I  believed  I  now  had  to  unbelieve.  My  new  world  was  cold  and  bright and honest, but my old mind was still full of a lifetime’s accumulation of belief and  opinion and false knowledge and emotional attachment – all the noxious debris and toxic  waste that make up the ego – and it all had to go. That’s a process and it takes time. The  world might be annihilated in a flash, but self takes a little longer to burn away. There’s  no bomb for that. There’s no pretty Latin phrase or Sanskrit mantra that annihilates self  quickly or painlessly. There’s no realization or insight or epiphany that wipes away the  false self in a flash. Those who claim to have awakened in a flash are the most deluded of  all… “It should now be easy to understand that a true and complete spiritual teaching can  be  conveyed  in  three  words  [Who  Am  I?],  while  those  that  require  entire  libraries  of  books  and  legions  of  graybearded  scholars  to  decrypt  them  can  succeed  only  in producing ever more darkness and confusion. It should now be clear that there are no  cases of instant enlightenment, that awakening is not the result of a single epiphany, but  of a long, arduous journey wherein every step itself is a long, arduous journey. It should  now  be  obvious  that  all  dogma,  beliefs,  doctrines  and  philosophies  are  strictly  dreamstate phenomena with no independent existence in truth. It should now be easy to  look at any teacher or teaching, at any book, at any spiritual or religious assertion, and  to  instantly  know  its  exact  and  certain  value.  It  should  now  be  easy  to  look  at  every  internal  thought,  belief  and  emotion  and  know  without  the  possibility  of  error  what  is  real and what is imagined. It should now be clear that there is no room for debate or  opinion with regard to what is true and what is false. The distinction is absolute: Truth  exists. Untruth does not.”10 * * Robert’s  Process  and  Spiritual  Autolysis.  I’m  personally  not  aware  of  any  other processes from other scouts that I know for a fact will work in your transformation into a butterfly.  But, of course, you  are always free to come up with your own process if you think  you’ve  found  something  “better.”  I  would  caution  you  to  remember  that  any process developed inside the movie theater will  not work in the cocoon, simply because it’s  based  on  incorrect  premises  (i.e.,  the  movies  are  real).  Now  the  opposite  of everything is true, so you would be wise not to try to bring any process into the cocoon with you. Furthermore,  any process you  come  up with inside  the  cocoon is going to  have to include certain specific elements, like… …acknowledging  there  is  no  objective,  independent  reality  “out  there”  and  the experience you’re processing isn’t real …locating and letting go of all judgments, beliefs, opinions, and fears …withdrawing,  disconnecting,  or  switching  off  any  power  assigned  to  a  person, place, or thing within the hologram …expressing  appreciation  to  the  people,  places,  and  things  in  your  hologram  for their role in your process, and to your Infinite I for its creations …identifying and detaching from the layers of the ego that were created while in the movie theater, always with the purpose of finding the true answer to “Who Am I?” In addition, any process must be done unilaterally and alone; that is, it cannot depend on anyone or anything else outside of you  saying or doing anything  at all. You initiate and run the process regardless of what anyone else does in your experience. No one else has to change anything; you just change your own reaction or response. It’s also worth repeating and emphasizing that while you can do Robert’s Process in your  head,  spiritual  autolysis  will  only  work  well  if  you  actually  write  it  down.  The problem with doing stuff in your head when it comes to dealing with your fears and the layers  of  your  ego  is  that  the  ego,  threatened  with  its  annihilation,  will  begin  fighting back, finding ways  to justify your fears, fooling you  into thinking the layer  of ego you found is true and necessary to hang on to. So if you’re going to try to come up with your  own process, you  will have to find a way to get it out of your  head, establishing some physical distance between you and what you are looking at. Who knows? You might, indeed, come up with a new process that can benefit others as well as you scout a new path across the Rockies. Then you can write a book about it!

desirelessness:Meanwhile,  the  processes  from  Robert  Scheinfeld  and  Jed McKenna  now  have  proven track records, so we know they work; and that’s saying  something. In just two years,  I have  seen  the  kind  of  results  using  this  combination  of  Robert’s  Process  and  Jed’s spiritual  autolysis  that many people spend lifetimes in meditation  and visualization and still never achieve. As they say in some 12-Step programs, it works if you work it, and  it’s worth it.

desirelessness:If  you  apply  yourself  diligently  and  faithfully  to  whatever  workable  process  you choose, I can tell you where you will end up. You will drop all judgments of everyone and everything. You will see nothing any more as “good” or “bad,” “better” or “worse,” “right” or “wrong,” “good” or “evil.” You  will  let  go  of  all  the  beliefs  you  ever  held,  including  the  belief  of  who  you thought you were. Your opinions will cease to exist and not be replaced. You will eliminate fear from your life, including the fear of death and non-existence, knowing  everything  is  perfect  exactly  the  way  it  is  and  there  is  never  anything  to  be afraid of. In short, you will become… …nothing – a fully realized  no-self,11 as others have called it – nothing but joy and appreciation and serenity of being. desirelessness:“Truly I have attained nothing from total enlightenment,” said the Buddha. A  butterfly  is  nothing;  and  like  the  butterfly,  you  will  finally  be  free  –  free  of judgments  and  beliefs  and  opinions  and  false  knowledge  and  ego  attachments;  free  of drama and conflict and pain and suffering; “free to fly, fly away, high away, bye bye.”

FOOTNOTES 1. Wikipedia – Detachment – Back to reading 2. Thich Thien-An. Zen Philosophy, Zen Practice, pp. 104-112 – Back to reading 3. McKenna, Jed. The Enlightenment Trilogy – Back to reading 4. Cachalote.org – Back to reading 5. Julie’s spiritual autolysis in The Enlightenment Trilogy – Back to reading 6. McKenna, Jed. Ibid. – Back to reading 7. Wikipedia – Al-Anon – Back to reading 8. McKenna, Jed. Id. – Back to reading 9. Julie’s spiritual autolysis in Ibid. – Back to reading 10. McKenna, Jed. Id. – Back to reading 11. Giles, James. The No-self theory: Hume, Buddhism, and Personal Identity – “The  no-self theory lets the self lie where it has fallen. This is because the no-self theory is not  a theory about the self at all. It is rather a rejection of all such theories as inherently  untenable.” – Back to reading

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