Silent Mind Meditation Program: Non-attachment
With attachments lie the root of our imprisonment and problems. It is not just attachment to material objects and people that leads to suffering, it is the attachment to name, image, reputation, beliefs, ideas, etc. that further complicate the situation. As you engage in Silent Mind meditations what you will observe is that thoughts are very sticky. They easily capture your attention and draw you into their world. This stickiness of thoughts is because of our attachments. It is this component of a thought that makes it seductive. Without this component thoughts would be like clouds in the sky, easily separated from and easily witnessed from afar. The goal of SM is to dissolve these attachments and free oneself from being sucked into the web of thinking. There are several attitudes that greatly help in diminishing the strength of attachments and in this chapter we are going to discuss a few of them. For the next four weeks, experiment with them and see which ones work best for you. Keep in mind that these are just tools to help us weaken attachments, don’t get caught up in their theoretical validity.
From the great Tantric schools comes the decree, “Whatever comes let it come, whatever goes let it go”. This is essence of the “Law of Karma”. It is suggesting that whatsoever is happening is due to karmic debts which have accumulated over lifetimes. These debts are determined by our past actions. In some situations we are owed and we are getting what we are due, while in others we owe and are paying it off. In either case, the advice is not to take anything personally and just let life play itself out. Stay detached from all the comings and goings of your life and remain calm and undisturbed as it unfolds before you – passively watching.
Closely related to the above view is the concept of “The Neutral Mind”, arising from the related schools of Yoga. The Neutral Mind is also called the Yogic Mind and suggests against being caught up in the polarities of pleasure and pain, success and failure etc. It is this partiality that lends itself to attachments. Our constant desire for pleasure and fear of pain builds in us thoughts soaked in emotion, which is another subtle way of describing attachments. As above, the Neutral Mind, encourages the aspirant to maintain equanimity and composure when faced with the fluctuations of life, treating the polarities equally, favoring neither one nor the other.
From the traditions of Zen Buddhism comes another helpful technique to combat attachments, the approach of Mindfulness. This approach asks the student to remain as much as possible in the present, aware of that which is occurring physically, emotionally and mentally. Awareness is the archenemy of attachments. Attachments are strengthened by the endless time that we spend thinking about them, chewing on them. By demanding that we are instead focused on the ordinary present, starves the attachments of the constant coddling they get, and they begin to wither away. As this process continues we start to come out of our mental reality and become more connected with life as it actually is.
All three of the above time tested teachings are effective in cutting the bonds which bind you and cause suffering, but all are easier said then done. At the end of the day, you want to be like the deep ocean, where the storms of life only disturb the surface while you remain calm and peaceful deep within. It is well worth the effort.