Attachment is like accepting a promise that has already been broken.
It isn’t that the thing you’re attached to is necessarily malicious. Or even that the concept of being attached is too external like some self-help book formed theory.
The only true implication, as with all aspects of our mortal form, is that it will end.
Good or bad. Right or wrong. You’ll be invested in something that will dissipate in front of you. No matter how mindful you are.
And you will be submerged in a new kind of pain. One that grows from desire. From faith.
The kind of pain that makes every memory inflict a biting echo.
Maybe you’re someone who tells yourself you don’t get attached to anything of this world. Completely disconnected from the impermanence of life in favor of some arbitrary conceptual transcendence to immortality. Maybe everything happens for a reason.
Or maybe you’re zenmaster flex living in a perfect balance of rationale and emotional fortitude. Maybe you’re the outlier.
Or, more likely, you’re just a liar.
For most of us, that evaporation, that sense of loss, throws us into an inflamed state of being, anxious and tender to the touch.
Every movement squeezes the skin, grinds the bones underneath. Making us long for any distraction, even another source of pain. Grasping at any solution that will make the pain end as abruptly it began.
Maybe I’m projecting…
I mean I definitely am…
When my father passed, I showed up to work on Monday. I took on every project I could to distract myself. When I lost great loves in the past, I’d lose myself in the throes of lusty gazes and impulsivity.
These losses were gasoline that left me in a perpetual flame. I would drown myself to put it out.
They call that emotional state Grief. Something that’s only contextualized in death. But it exists in more places than a funeral.
So why don’t we afford the same level of tolerance to someone when they’ve lost a job? Or broken with their love? Or moved across the globe and left their friends behind?
A lot of us, myself included, have only just learned how to grieve. I noticed my bad habits before I knew to create good ones.
Of course, there exists the jaded coping method. Numbness.
Maybe you’re in that now. Nestled into the cold dark corner of safety, vowing never to bind yourself to an external fate. Never to overstep. Never to overreach. Never to allow vulnerability unless met with a shining image of perfection.
And maybe that’s served you. Maybe you can see that golden image of flawless opportunity turning the corner, slowly moving toward your stone posture. Eroding your hardened state with each approaching inch.
But, we all learn eventually; all that glitters ain’t gold.
There are a handful of universal rules in this existence.
Accepting this - with grace - is one of the most challenging and freeing perspective shifts I’ve ever needed to overcome. And for me, it doesn’t come from a spiritual rationalization of life after death. Or some grand plan that I, inconveniently, am ignorant to. Nor does it come from a dis-attached state of loneliness.
It comes from gratitude.
And sometimes it takes me days, weeks, months on end to sit with that. Reflecting on this journey. In silence. Without distractions. Continuing to feel the echoes of that pain unabashedly.
Ultimately, those biting memories turn into smiling thoughts.
And even if they stay cringey flashbacks that play back before I fall asleep, I let them play out. I used to analyze all of the things I could’ve done differently. I still allow myself to do that at first. And eventually, I carve a thought process out that lets me live with what happened.
And that ability - to find a way to reside in the flames, not to hide from it,
to just feel the heat until it burns itself out. To take my time with it, no matter how long.
That ability is a crack in the shackle. It is the stallion I ride into any situation.
Because even pain dies eventually.