Do you ever wonder what people are talking about when they refer to non-attachment?
There is a lot of posting these days about “Giving Zero F*cks” and I wanted to take a moment to explain why non-attachment is not the same as not caring (or pretending not to care) at all.
When we care deeply about someone or something, we tend to think of them/it often. We can start to have imaginary conversations, build an imaginary future or even place expectations on the way that person will treat us or the situation will work out. This is attachment.
Caring about someone does not cause suffering. Attachment causes suffering. It creates a situation where instead of just being in the moment loving the person, we have created an imaginary world that we have placed them in and are expecting them to fulfill our spoken (or unspoken-yikes) desires. This is not reality and since we actually do live in the world in real time our “world” and our world don’t exactly match up. Let the suffering commence. It sucks, I know.
Giving Zero F*cks usually feels a little like someone is angry about or reacting to something. Have you ever gone through the stages of grief (I am going to refer to not getting what you want as grieving because I think it is)? First you get kind of mad and frustrated (and may say you give zero f*cks-for instance), then you may get really sad (and maybe cry), then eventually you get some clarity and are able to hold a larger perspective that there may be more going on than just your own ideas and thoughts (hopefully).
When I first went to Naropa and started studying Buddhism I misunderstood non-attachment. I thought it meant not caring about people and things. I was so used to attaching my own perspective to everything, I didn’t know how to care without trying to “help” or “fix” or otherwise try to change things to get them to feel right (to me-because I’m selfish like that).
My meditation teacher at Naropa, Reggie Ray (the founder of www.DharmaOcean.org), once told us that the reason his relationship with his wife was so successful after so many years was because every morning he did not expect her to be the same person she was the day before. He went on to say that he loves her enough to let her be who she is, to grow and change at her own pace, and he has committed to loving her no matter what. That is the highest form of loving someone and care. It is much more liberating and less frustrating (for both of you) than trying to stuff someone in the small box of your imagination and expectation for the rest of your life (or as long as it lasts).
…AND it is the total opposite of “Giving Zero F*ucks.”
I’ve used the example of relationships here, but it really can be applied to just about everything.
So, I will leave you with this life practice: When you start to feel that you “Don’t care” or “Give Zero F*ucks” about something or someone, pause for a second and ask yourself what you expected from the situation. Chances are you just wanted something you didn’t get. I don’t know about you, but my life has been blessed (although often I haven’t recognized it immediately) so much more by either getting things that I didn’t think I wanted or not getting things that I thought I did. If you want big transformation and opportunities way beyond your small vision for yourself (or others), try instead to Give More F*ucks without Expectation.
Now I will conclude this blog( where there’s a really good chance I have collectively used the F word more than I ever have in my entire life) with this amazing quote:
“I’ve never seen any life transformation that didn’t begin with the person in question
finally getting tired of their own bullshit.”