Jack Kornfield talks about Commitment, Attachment, and Love. Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.
This talk on commitment, attachment, and love is a call to reflect on where we attach ourselves in an attempt to control our lives. Unlike what we might assume, non-attachment is not the same thing as being ‘detached from’; it is simply a call for us to accept the things we are not in control of and to trustfully embrace the unfolding of life.
Non-attachment, Kornfield explains, means to be present and in relation without grasping and without controlling. This applies to partners, children, family, friends, and all others we interact with. As we practice navigating our relationships this way, we might find that our sense of suffering decreases. Why? Because as Kornfield and many other great teachers explain: suffering, not pain, is directly connected to how attached we are. Through attention and practice, we can begin to replace attachment with dedication, commitment, and care, shifting the vibration to one of loving kindness and compassion.
If we want to let go of our attachment (and in doing so, our suffering), we might consider letting the task of ‘letting go’ be replaced by ‘letting be.’ Forcing ourselves to let go of our fear or our attachment is not the same as letting be. We cannot force our feelings away, but we can practice letting them be as they are – without stories, without defenses, and without control. When fear arises, let it be. When emotions arise, let those be, too. As we begin to relate to these experiences in a non-attached way, we start to find peace, clarity, and meaning in whatever washes through us.
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Sean Fargo is the Founder of Mindfulness Exercises, a former Buddhist monk of 2 years, a trainer for the mindfulness program born at Google, an Integral Coach from New Ventures West, and an international mindfulness teacher trainer. He can be reached at [email protected]