- Love is caring intensely about another person's happiness. More so than one's own happiness.
- Non-attachment means that we observe their happiness or unhappiness but do not become either elated or despondent about what happens to them. No matter what happens to them.
- Love wants to have contact with the beloved. To see, to hear, to touch, to talk with, to experience.
- Non-attachment accepts the time together and the time apart with equal satisfaction. It does not want the beloved to go away, but neither does it seek to prolong time together, nor minimize absence.
- Love seeks intimacy by knowing and understanding the beloved.
- Non-attachment accepts what is shown or given, but does not seek to create intimacy through seeking or asking.
- Love remembers and imagines the beloved when they are not near, recreating their presence through memories, personal mementos, or perhaps a shared favorite song.
- Non-attachment accepts separation and does not seek to create a feeling of connection through memories or objects. And of course, non-attachment never has a favorite song.
- Love wants to be loved in return
- Non-attachment accepts one's own feelings without expecting or even wanting anything from another.
Today I am far from my beloved. And I miss him. I played a song that reminds me of him. I have been thinking about the fun things we've done together, the wonderful talks we've had. I've imagined our next visit.
And I have failed entirely in non-attachment. Or have I?
It is my personal feeling that non-attachment was never meant to apply to people. That loving and caring for people is the whole point of this sometimes otherwise pointless existence. Non-attachment is wonderful for freeing us from loving things, from wanting things, from keeping things from others who might need them. From putting a love of transient objects as the center of our lives.
But the Buddha was a compassionate man. He taught skills to help people overcome suffering. He did not sit by, dispassionately while people suffered and keep his enlightenment to himself. He cared. He loved. The way other people felt mattered to him and he spent the majority of his life trying to relieve suffering and increase happiness.
How did we get from that gentle, compassionate man to a place where we see virtue in not becoming attached to PEOPLE? For never really opening our hearts to the beauty of love.
Haven't we missed the whole point?