When we hear the word “attachment”, we often think of it in material terms. We imagine people attaching themselves to objects, or to one another. But attachment manifests itself far more often in non-material circumstances. We attach ourselves to emotions, ideas, expectations, and modes of perception. We attach ourselves to the idea of attachment itself.
This is what attachment really is: an inability to be satisfied with the fundamental condition of things. In the present moment, we can own things, but things do not own us. We can exist peacefully without renting our happiness or placing bets on the future. Non-attachment isn’t some elaborate process of complex ego-death. It isn’t one specific path or one formula. Non-attachment is simply the act of loving where you are.
Loving the present moment isn’t complicated. In fact, it’s remarkably simple. The issue is that we’ve been conditioned to do everything the hard way. We take the path of least resistance, which is, ironically, the most difficult path. The path with the fewest obstacles is the least valuable path. It doesn’t teach us anything. It’s easy to make peace the present moment when there aren’t any obstacles in your way. It’s more difficult to do when you experience obstacles, and when you perceive obstacles as problems. If we can make peace with the present even when it’s testing our patience, we can exist in peace under any circumstance.
Loving where we’re at requires us to view obstacles, problems, and roadblocks as necessities. It asks us to transcend the simplistic value systems we’re taught to believe: good vs. evil, happy vs. sad, easy vs. hard. When you accept mindfulness and accept the present moment, you recognize that good relies on evil, happy relies on sad, and easy relies on hard. There’s no night without day, no dark without light. On a base level, we exist in the balance between these opposites. Transcendence allows us to see beyond polar concepts, to recognize the infinite grey area and move past it. This is what it means to love where you are. you acknowledge the absurdity of your desire for something else, and settle in to what is.
Mindfulness is a peace treaty with space and time. We stop fighting with what is; we stop speculating about what could be. We untether ourselves from the past and future, and exist for existence’s sake. Rather than trying to fill the void with various distractions, goals, and attachments, we give everything up except for the basic tasks of everyday life. We learn that life is its own reward. We don’t need to search for greatness or try to assert egotistical power over the world. We stop fighting the war against ourselves and others. We make peace with where we are, and learn to love the present regardless of what it consists of. It’s all we have.