In this episode, we cover the 3 pitfalls of non-attachment and what the Eastern Wisdom Traditions really mean by the concept of “non-attachment.” Based on the attachment teaching of the Upanishads, we discuss:
- What the Five Kleshas (hindrances) have to do with non-attachment
- How our desire for survival and identification with the ego creates suffering in life
- The three main pitfalls in practicing non-attachment;
- The illusion of attachment – how we really cannot be attached to anything in a real sense
- How you can practice non-attachment and enjoy the world in all of its delights
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Welcome to Soul Sessions with CreativeMind with Debra Berndt Maldonado and Dr. Rob Maldonado of CreativeMind. Join us each week for inspiring conversation about personal development based on Jungian philosophy, Eastern spirituality, and social neuroscience. Spend each week with us to explore deep topics in a practical way. Let’s begin.
Debra Maldonado 00:30
Hello, again, welcome to another episode of Soul Sessions with Debra and Rob Maldonado.
Robert Maldonado 00:36
Nice to meet you. Good to see you, guys.
Debra Maldonado 00:37
I am so excited about our next topic, continuing our series on Eastern spirituality and the wisdom of the East, bringing some practical application to our modern world. We’re talking today about the three pitfalls of non-attachment. Everyone talks about non-attachment, you’ve heard it before, we’re going to dive deep into this.
Robert Maldonado 01:01
It’s a beautiful practice and very useful, very relevant to today’s world. But before we get going, I’d like to give a shoutout to all our fans, of course, people that listen to our podcast, but also our students in the coach training programs. We love you guys. Level one, level two, the master’s program, incredible people that we’re working with. Level three, the spiritual teacher training program, these students are why we get up in the morning and why we do what we do. Also our team, without your support, guys, we would not be able to do what we do. Thank you so much.
Debra Maldonado 01:45
You make our life wonderful and help us express our purpose. Do you want to start with a story?
Robert Maldonado 01:53
Let’s start with a story which is more of a riddle. Nobody knows exactly who wrote this. Sometimes it’s attributed to Buddha, sometimes to Tolstoy, all over the place. But it’s a great story.
Debra Maldonado 02:11
A man is walking through the wilderness, he stumbles upon a tiger. He runs, but soon comes to the edge of a cliff. Desperate to save himself, he climbs down a vine and is dangling over the precipice. As he hung there, two mice appear from a hole and start gnawing on this vine. Suddenly, he notices on the vine, a wild strawberry, he plucked it and ate the strawberry. It was incredibly delicious. So does he live or die? You don’t know.
Robert Maldonado 02:55
As you see, not much of a story but more a visual pun or situation that presents a dilemma. You have somebody dangling from this vine, with the ferocious Tiger up on the cliff, ready to pounce on him if he climbs back up. But also time’s running out because the mice—and in some of the stories, it’s a black mouse and a white mouse—gnawing at the vine, meaning he’s about to fall into the precipice. Then the strawberry, of course, the fruit, the sweetness.
Debra Maldonado 03:42
The material rewards of life. The precipice is the unknown.
Robert Maldonado 03:50
Also the limited time we have in this life. But I wanted to talk about the kleshas, the hindrances outlined in yoga philosophy, that relate to the story, or relate to this philosophical conundrum we’re in this life, and to see how they fit into the parable there. People often talk about what blocks them, you can think along those lines. What stops us from being enlightened, from being happy, from reaching our goals, all those things. To me, the fact that human beings were able to figure some of these things out so early on, thousands of years ago without the technologies—
Debra Maldonado 04:57
The population seems to have forgotten these very simple truths.
Robert Maldonado 05:05
They’re still around. We focus on the good stuff.
Debra Maldonado 05:10
Number one, what’s the first klesha?
Robert Maldonado 05:13
The first klesha, and I’m presenting them in reverse. But to me, they make more sense this way. First of all, we have the will to live. Which is counterintuitive. We would think the will to live is great. What’s wrong with that? We see in the story, the guy is running from the tiger, meaning he wants to live. There’s nothing wrong with this. But it’s a klesha, it’s a hindrance, in that it puts us in survival mode.
Debra Maldonado 05:52
It’s not that they’re negative, or they’re bad, but more that they interrupt us knowing our true nature.
Robert Maldonado 06:02
They’re a challenge to us.
Debra Maldonado 06:05
Not leading us to joy. They take us towards suffering?
Robert Maldonado 06:12
They can cause suffering, if we don’t understand.
Debra Maldonado 06:18
There’s nothing wrong with the will to live. Having that desire to live can hinder our spiritual growth.
Robert Maldonado 06:28
The reason I presented backwards is because this is the root of it. What comes out of that will to live that’s so powerful. If you notice, in nature, every living thing has this desire to live, to survive.
Debra Maldonado 06:48
If an animal gets caught in a trap, it will gnaw off its arm to survive. It’s survival instinct in all of us.
Robert Maldonado 06:58
But it leads in human life to this ego, that’s number two. It’s this sense of I, because who is the one that wants to live? It feels like it’s coming from my mind body, which then generates a sense of me or I.
Debra Maldonado 07:23
The identification with the body creates this, because there is awareness in us, that is different than the awareness in you on some level, like a personal awareness that ultimately is the birth of the ego.
Robert Maldonado 07:39
It’s the birth of the ego, because if we ask, why the body wants to survive, it’s designed to make sure that your body survives as an individual, that you make it through to pass on your genes or just to live your life to its fullness. But it begins with that will to live, then, in the mind, there arises a sense of ego.
Debra Maldonado 08:06
The will to live and survive can be social as well?
Robert Maldonado 08:11
Yes, because if you get into how this hinders us, isn’t it a good thing to have an ego? For survival, of course it is. It is great to have an ego. But the way it hinders us is that we start to over-identify with it, we start to believe that’s all there is.
Debra Maldonado 08:31
A body’s a hindrance because we have to feed it, we have to take care of it, it ages and gets sick. It doesn’t mean we should get rid of the body, the body’s not bad in itself, but the identification with this body gives us a limited idea, or causes limitation and suffering.
Robert Maldonado 08:50
The next two actually get to the suffering piece. That sense of I, the way we perceive the environment is through this lens of attraction, which is number three, and repulsion, which is number four, meaning this duality, we want to move towards the pleasant, the good, the light, sustenance, comfort. We want to move away from pain, from danger, from cold and heat, from extremes. That duality is the way we survive in the world, we’re always seeking the good, the pleasure principle Freud talks about. It’s very powerful in us and it helps us survive in that instinctually we know what’s good for us.
Debra Maldonado 09:51
Even a one-celled organism—they’ve done tests that it has that same attachment, if you put something hot or unpleasant, it moves away from it. It moves away from what’s unpleasant or feels uncomfortable. Even a one-celled organism, every organism on the planet, including our body as an organism of the world, has that desire to move away from suffering.
Robert Maldonado 10:17
In the story, the white and the black mice are these two elements, attraction and repulsion.
Debra Maldonado 10:29
Because they’re both equal in a way, to be repulsed against something and to be attracted to something. If you’re like “I’m gonna not be repulsed by anything”, you can’t have attraction without repulsion. Because it’s a dual world, the opposite of up is down, good and bad, nice and mean, that duality. When you’re attracted to something, you bring the opposite with you, is that what you’re saying?
Robert Maldonado 10:57
That’s a layer of it. That’s the beauty of these wisdom traditions, they’re bringing so many layers of knowledge and wisdom to the mind by us simply examining them. The attraction towards the strawberry means we want to taste the sweetness of life and enjoy it while we’re alive. There’s nothing wrong with that from the ego perspective. If we believe we’re the ego, we come to the conclusion that the best I can do is drink, eat, drink and be merry, while I’m alive. Because tomorrow we die.
Debra Maldonado 11:43
You’re describing my early years, when I was single.
Robert Maldonado 11:47
My college years were very much based on that philosophy too. It is basically the natural conclusion that we come to when we identify as the body.
Debra Maldonado 11:59
If we’re not drinking and being merry, we think something’s wrong, we’re seeking it. We have the will to live, number one, the ego arising out of that, three attraction, four repulsion. Five is ignorance. Tell me about ignorance.
Robert Maldonado 12:16
Ignorance is considered the mother load of suffering and of this hindrance because if we’re ignorant of the nature of the mind body, meaning we don’t understand our craving and why we’re after pleasure and pushing away pain, we’re acting instinctually, creating more of this dualistic existence.
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Debra Maldonado 13:45
Like the intelligence of a one-celled organism that’s just reacting. We can go into the longer, deeper idea of conditioning, how we keep conditioning ourselves in early life to react, we’re stuck in that.
Robert Maldonado 14:03
A condition life is not a free life, because you’re acting out of the circumstances of your environment. Whatever environment you were born into, it’s going to tell you who you are, what’s possible for you for the rest of your life, if you’re just acting on that conditioning.
Debra Maldonado 14:28
Even if you have this idea or inspiration, the force of conditioning can lock you in if you’re ignorant. You can have this big goal, but we’re attached to get away from our current circumstances. But we’re locked in if we’re attached.
Robert Maldonado 14:49
On the other side, ignorance of higher knowledge, meaning, what is possible for us with the consciousness that we have. In the great epic from India, the Mahabharata, the king Yudhishthira says, one of the most remarkable things about human life is that every day we’re surrounded by death, yet we act as if we’re going to live forever. We don’t take notice. We don’t take the lesson that our time is limited, that we need to use this life for this higher life or higher purpose in us, the spiritual calling. We spend it in that dualistic seeking pleasure because tomorrow we die. Therefore, I need to get as much pleasure and sensory stimulation as possible before I die and try to avoid pain.
Debra Maldonado 15:58
The world is in constant motion, there’s no way to hang on to. Is it ignorance that this thing is going to last? Once I get this goal, I’m going to feel great, that happiness lasts forever. Is that ignorance to think there’s something solid that we can grasp in the world that can make us happy?
Robert Maldonado 16:24
If you look at our experience of pleasure, it’s very temporal, it’s very fleeting. Once you taste the strawberry, it lasts for a few seconds, then you need another strawberry. If you eat too many, you get sick. Therefore, it leads us to the opposite, always to suffering, to pain.
Debra Maldonado 16:51
When I was younger, my family used to make fun of me because I would eat the ice cream really slow. My other siblings would eat it so fast. I’m like “I’m savoring this, it lasts longer.” It’s the idea that we want to make it last. But even then it doesn’t last. That’s the ignorance of the permanence of the world. Even having that experience of pleasure, reaches a deeper part of us that can keep us happy forever.
Robert Maldonado 17:23
These wisdom traditions are saying, these natural, instinctual elements in us are what keeps us in that conditioned, limited state of mind. Therefore, we suffer because we’re always looking to create pleasure and abundance and creativity. But the dualistic principle is, when you define goodness, you’re defining badness. When you define beauty, you’re defining ugliness. You’re bringing the opposite into existence. Just by desiring something good you’re bringing something bad into the world.
Debra Maldonado 18:14
Having a desire is admitting that you don’t have it already. To want something means I don’t have it. You are caught up in that loop. Let’s go to the three pitfalls of non-attachment, what are the pitfalls? Non- attachment is the way you can free yourself from this ignorance.
Robert Maldonado 18:35
It’s one of the main techniques mentioned in the wisdom traditions, as a way of freeing our mind from the dualistic tendency of conditioning, or the dualistic conditioning power that is in the environment. How does non-attachment work? It is essentially saying that every action we take leaves an imprint on us because of that desire that we have to either gain something from it, to gain pleasure, or negative, to avoid pain. If we succeed, it increases that behavior, we’re prompted to repeat that behavior. If we fail at it, if it doesn’t give us what we want, then we tend to drop that behavior. Over the years, imagine how many behaviors and how many actions we take from the time we’re born to this moment, hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions and millions, all these small actions are leaving this conditioning imprint on us. By the time we get to be adolescents, we’re very much conditioned already into reacting to the environment in a certain way.
Debra Maldonado 20:10
In school, to be nervous about a test or to be nervous about getting our grades, to be not in trouble with our parents. There’s this “I’m going to get in trouble for this, I’m going to be punished.” That negative feedback we get, or speaking up and the parents shush you, you have a negative reaction, I better not speak up anymore. We end up not really having a choice in our life, we end up thinking we’re making choices, but we’re actually acting out of that attachment, conditioning. Can attachment be like conditioning? Would be a way to talk about conditioning, it’s really an attachment?
Robert Maldonado 20:53
I would say attachment sets us up for conditioning. Because we want something and we want to hold on to it. That predisposes us to when we get it, it leaves the positive imprint on us, we’re going to repeat whatever helped us get it. Or if we don’t get it, or if it’s aversive, if we get punished by it, by moving towards it, then it reduces the likelihood of that action repeating itself. It’s molding and shaping the way we act. It literally will determine in a predictable way, how a person will act throughout their life, it’s that deterministic principle that you can predict how people will act, if you understand conditioning well.
Debra Maldonado 21:52
Didn’t they say a good predictor of future behavior is past behavior?
Robert Maldonado 21:56
That’s right, because most of us are conditioned by our past, we’re very predictable.
Debra Maldonado 22:05
We get into these cycles, same relationship, same money problems, same career, things that hold us back, same friendship issues, family issues. It just feels like why does this keep happening to me? That is why. So the key to free ourselves?
Robert Maldonado 22:23
If attachment is the binding force, non-attachment is the freeing power in us. Non-attachment says you can take the action, it’s recommend that you continue to act, we don’t want to stop acting, we’ll see why, one of the pitfalls will show. We continue to act, but we drop the attachment to the results of the action.
Debra Maldonado 22:52
Which is counterintuitive to how we’ve been conditioned. Basically, conditioning locks us in, and non- attachment unlocks us from that condition.
Robert Maldonado 23:02
It is the key to our freedom, action with non-attachment. We’re presenting it in a simple way, but this is the best way to understand it. When you take an action, let’s say, if you’re going to work to get the paycheck, you’re saying “I am going to work to get the money, the reward”, if you’re attached to it, it’s a mental decision, it’s not inherent in the action, it’s us who get attached to the result of the action.
Debra Maldonado 23:48
Someone who says “I’m stuck in my corporate job, I can’t leave because I don’t know how I’m gonna survive”, they’re very attached to that paycheck. They’re taking action for the results, for the reward, for the paycheck, but they’re not really enjoying the action.
Robert Maldonado 24:04
The question is, can you go to work without the attachment to getting paid? It doesn’t mean you won’t get paid. As long as you show up, the results will still be there. You’ll complete the work, you’ll get paid. But do you need to be attached to getting the money for that action? That’s the question, and the answer is you can still do your work, still receive the money but not be attached to getting the money.
Debra Maldonado 24:41
Not feel this high for the payday, everybody’s working for the weekend. I can’t wait till Friday.
Robert Maldonado 24:53
Let’s proceed because the good stuff will come out through the pitfalls. The pitfall number one is that people confuse it for detachment. Non-attachment doesn’t mean not caring. Detachment would mean I don’t care, I’m detached from that activity. I don’t care about the money. I’m just going to do my work, go home and be miserable or whatever. It’s not caring, I don’t care how good my work is, or if I’m enjoying it, or not enjoying it, or doing a good job. I’m just not going to care. I’m detached.
Debra Maldonado 25:43
They say that in the corporate, most people are actively disengaged with their work. They’re detached, but they think they’re not attached.
Robert Maldonado 25:55
They’ve checked out of the procedure. They’re just going through the motions, they get paid, whatever, but they’re not really living in the moment and enjoying it or doing the best work.
Debra Maldonado 26:10
We work with a lot of people who start their businesses, I’ve known many entrepreneurial friends. Sometimes when things get hard, they say “I’m not going to be attached to the result.” They are still taking action, but it’s like they’re resenting the action in a way, they don’t even expect a result.
Robert Maldonado 26:38
It was like when people used to come up to us and say “I don’t want a relationship.” Then why are you coming up to us and saying it?
Debra Maldonado 26:48
“I’m not looking for a relationship right now,” they used to say. I said “Why did you come here and tell me that?” It must be important. There’s a lot of energy here. You say “I’m detached”, but it’s a defense or pushing away.
Robert Maldonado 27:06
It’s a rejection of the goal with the intention of defending themselves, seeing themselves safe somehow.
Debra Maldonado 27:18
In the status quo, like I’m not even going to try to get a relationship or I’m not even going to try to get clients or build a business because it’s not working, I’m just going to be detached. It’s more of a moving away from it in a very defensive, anger or resentment because you didn’t get what you want. So you’re gonna push it away. But you’re still wrapped up because you think you don’t care but actually you do care. There’s a lot of energy still there, you’re actively not caring in a way.
Robert Maldonado 27:52
It’s like when people have enemies. They’re constantly thinking about this enemy. It’s very much like they’re related to them in a very powerful way, even though they consider them the enemy they want to push away. It’s consuming their mental activity, their emotional activity. The same principle, when you’re caught up in pushing something away, it’s got you basically.
Debra Maldonado 28:23
I bet you’re saying “I’m detached from it, I don’t care anymore.” But you do care. You’re pretending you don’t care but you really do care. It’s tricky.
Robert Maldonado 28:39
That’s one of the pitfalls, and we all fall into this. We’re not saying only certain people fall. This is the subtlety of practice of non-attachment. Be careful with falling into detachment, pushing away of things.
Debra Maldonado 28:55
It’s like the opposite of clinging to something, there’s the pushing away.
Robert Maldonado 29:00
The second pitfall is not acting, or passively experiencing the situation. Here the attachment is to not acting. You’re saying “If I don’t work, or if I don’t seek a relationship, I don’t date, I won’t run the danger of getting caught up in the relationship or getting caught up with the money, and therefore I’m safe.”
Debra Maldonado 29:29
Is it also the idea that you say everything happens for a reason, you reason away the results? You say “I’m non-attached”, but on a conscious level you’re trying to justify the results you’re getting or the non-action that you’re doing, you’re using the term “I’m not attached” but it’s more you’re not really moving forward. It’s like the ego’s trick to keep you from acting and using spiritual terminology to make it sound spiritual? Everything happens in divine timing and that kind of thing.
Robert Maldonado 30:09
The hallmark of this pitfall is that the person is not taking action. They’re not using all their potential to create something in the world, because they’re afraid of that attachment, or the entanglement with life.
Debra Maldonado 30:30
What most people think attachment is, is “I’m going to go for something.” Number one is detachment, which is actively pushing away. The other one is where you feel like “I’m not even going to try.” With those two, you’re still caught up in attachment, because not trying is an action towards safety, you’re still attached to something, you’re still attached to safety.
Robert Maldonado 31:02
There’s a subtle difference in detachment, it’s checking out in passivity. You’re not acting, you’re attached to not taking action. You believe that’s going to keep you in freedom or a non-engaged or non-attached way.
Debra Maldonado 31:33
Because the assumption is “If I act, then I’ll be attached. I don’t know how to act, so I better not act. Then I’m not attached.”
Robert Maldonado 31:43
Remember that these are pitfalls for people that are practicing non-attachment. We’re practicing non- attachment but then we fall into these subtle pitfalls.
Debra Maldonado 31:53
We all do because we all have an ego. The ego loves to use spiritual principles to get us to stay safe.
Robert Maldonado 32:04
Gandhi was a great practitioner. Somebody accused him once of being passive in a certain situation. He said “I’m never passive, I always take action. The only difference is, I’m not attached to the result. I focus more on taking the action and opposing the unjust laws or the unjust principles in society, whatever I’m working on. But I’m not attached to getting the results.” The action itself is the reward. In the end, if you take the action, the results will be there. We saw that he was able to liberate a whole subcontinent through this power of non-attachment. The third one is that people practice non-attachment, all of us sometimes practice non-attachment without understanding the principle of our personal Dharma, which is our purpose. What is the purpose of your life? What are you doing here? Why are you embodying in this human skin? There’s a purpose to it, just like everything in nature has a purpose, your individual life has an individual purpose. Your task is to express that. That’s your dharma. It can only be expressed when you find this higher knowledge, when you’re not at ignorance, like we were talking about the incredible obstacles, hindrances. What does it mean to practice non-attachment without tying it to dharma? It means you’re often using it to get stuff. It’s the people that say “I’m going to practice non-attachment so I can get the relationship or I get the money.”
Debra Maldonado 34:15
You’re looking at using spiritual techniques to get material things, which is attachment. You’re still caught up, but it sounds nicer than “I just gotta find a relationship”. I’m gonna practice non-attachment to find relationship. There’s nothing wrong with that. But if it doesn’t have a purpose beyond just feeding the ego, satiating that hunger for pleasure, you’re really not approaching non-attachment or the practice in the way it was conceived, the way the spiritual wisdom has taught it for many thousands of years.
Robert Maldonado 34:57
This has been one other criticism of a lot of spiritual but not religious people like ourselves. I consider myself certainly one of those people that would say “I’m spiritual but not religious”. We don’t practice the discipline in its fullness, we can take little pieces that are convenient for us. But we don’t say “Give me the hard parts, I’ll accept that, there’s going to be some difficult things that I’m going to have to do if I want to do a real spiritual practice. But I cherry pick the techniques or the practices.”
Debra Maldonado 35:43
Our ego reframes it in a way that feeds more of the ego. If we’re ignorant of the fact that we have an ego or ignorant of how it operates, or patterns from the past, how it feeds that pattern, we don’t even realize that we’re caught up in it. When I was looking for a relationship, I was doing all this spiritual stuff, starting my first practice, I was using these principles, but it was in service of that attachment. When I received the results, I started to feel like that’s not it. Happiness isn’t inside those things. Sometimes we need to start that way, don’t you think? We need to start maybe practicing these principles and to attain material things, then we say “We got these things, this isn’t really what they meant by non-attachment. It’s really tied to dharma, what is my purpose beyond just acquiring people and things?” Would you say that is okay, if people started that way?
Robert Maldonado 36:55
Any practice is better than no practice, but to really gain the full effect of non-attachment, it has to be tied to dharma. If we’re not acting for the result of our action, which is the motivation, that’s what people use to motivate themselves. They say “If I do this difficult job, I’ll get the reward, I’ll get the recognition, the prestige, the money”, whatever it is, we’re acting for a particular result that motivates us. But we know it is the principle of conditioning, and we know it reduces creativity. When children are rewarded for creative endeavors, their creativity goes down because it’s externalized. That’s one of the principles in conditioning as well, the reward is coming from the outside. The question is, if I can’t use the external reward to motivate myself, how am I going to motivate myself?
Debra Maldonado 38:15
If I can’t have pleasure from that reward, why would I act? That’s what Arjuna asked Krishna, why should I act if I can’t have the fruits of the reward?
Robert Maldonado 38:30
Dharma answers this question. In doing your higher purpose, that’s your motivation, you’re expressing the fullness of your talents, your skills, you’re putting it into the action, not to the results.
Debra Maldonado 38:52
That’s so hard to do, because we all want the result as human beings. As a coach, for me, and we teach our coaches too, to show up with the client and not be attached to their results, because the coach can actually get attached to their client get results, not because they care about the client as much, which they do, but because it makes them look good. They’ll get acknowledgement, the client will redo their package again, there’s a little bit of ego in there. When you go to a coaching session with a client or working in a service job, you’re not really attached to their result. You care but it doesn’t define you. Whether they have a good result or a bad result, you’re doing your duty, you’re acting because that’s who you are. You’re being someone who shares knowledge, you’re being there for another person. I find that the more non-attached I am as a coach, the better results my client gets, and the more attached I get — early on I was so attached — it seemed like nothing’s working. It’s because I was seeing my own attachment. Would that be a good way to think about it?
Robert Maldonado 40:13
If we look at the second one, ego, what is happening is that through non-attachment, taking action without attachment to the results, it’s leaving the ego out of it, it’s not feeding the ego. Attachment, meaning acting for the results, is exactly where the ego arises. It’s saying “I want to survive, I want to have pleasure, I want to move away from pain.” Therefore, it reinforces that false sense of I, which is the ego. Non attachment is simply acting out of higher purpose, with no attachment to the fruits. The fruits will still be there, the results will yield because it’s cause and effect. But you’re not attached to it, you’re leaving the ego out of it.
Debra Maldonado 41:19
The beauty of non-attachment is that we don’t really know if something’s good or bad. We’re making an assumption that a certain result is going to be good for us or bad for us, based on past experience. We are making this assumption that if this client gets great result, it’s going to be good. The ego wants to take credit for it. But we don’t know what that action is. If the client gets a negative result, or they don’t get what they want out of the coaching, it may be the best thing that ever happened to that client because maybe it makes them go deeper. It’s not your job to be in charge of their result but being in charge of delivering and helping them, and trusting that the result they get is going to be for their own growth. Would that be a way to look at it? You’re doing it out of your heart. I think you’re more intuitive, you’re more creative, there’s more space than if your ego’s involved in that. It’s so tight, inflexible, and stressed about that interaction with that other person. The same thing with any relationship, you want to be open, you want that openness that give brings more creativity.
Robert Maldonado 42:41
That’s a whole other layer because you’re talking about the wisdom of non-attachment, it’s leading us to self-realization, realizing you are the higher self. Let’s recap. The three pitfalls, mainly detachment or thinking that detachment is the same as non-attachment. Detachment is not caring. In non-attachment, we care. We care about the action, we want to take the action to its best possible conclusion.
Debra Maldonado 43:21
Your heart, soul, emotions are still engaged in that action. Our heart and soul aren’t tied to the result.
Robert Maldonado 43:30
The second one is not acting, or being attached to non-action. We want to always stay in action. It’s our duty, it’s our purpose. It’s the way we free our mind and undo all the past conditioning, through acting.
Debra Maldonado 43:48
People that don’t act— I ended up getting laid off from my job because it was like the universe was pushing me. Even in non-action, something in your psyche will push you to work. You can’t stay there.
Robert Maldonado 44:06
Number three, forgetting Dharma, forgetting our true purpose, forgetting that the actual purpose of our work is to realize our true self. Therefore, always remember, why we are practicing non-attachment. Not to get better results or to get the fruit down the road somewhere. The results of our actions will always be there. It’s a universal principle. Whatever actions you take will yield results. But we’re letting go of the attachment to the results.
Debra Maldonado 44:47
Can I ask one quick question? I get this a lot. Can I enjoy the results?
Robert Maldonado 44:53
I think you enjoy them better. Because you’re not anxious about hanging on to them. It’s okay to celebrate, it’s okay to cry even when things go bad.
Debra Maldonado 45:07
It doesn’t need to be bland, neutral.
Robert Maldonado 45:11
On the contrary, you’re actually able to express and bring the emotions really to the surface because you understand what they are, they’re not the ones determining what the meaning of things are.
Debra Maldonado 45:25
When you have a negative experience or something that’s unpleasurable, you have a hard emotion, you can actually use that emotion in a non-attached way to say “Let me examine why I feel this way.” Non-attachment is also about not wanting to just push negative result away, and keep chasing the positive. What you’re doing is saying “That’s interesting, notice how attached I am to this”, or “Don’t get too attached.” You’re working with the pleasure again, but in a way of experiencing it through higher knowledge and higher awareness.
Robert Maldonado 46:00
We’re trusting in higher Dharma, the true self, to lead us in whatever results we get, instead of thinking “I want a certain result, I’ll only be happy or only consider this a success, if I get a certain result.” It’s a very limited perspective on life. Once you open it up and say “If I’m doing my duty, my purpose, whatever result arises from these actions, I’ll take it, I’ll accept it as the next level for me. It’s going to show me where I need to go.”
Debra Maldonado 46:39
Isn’t that how all the new inventions were created? They just kept trying. Edison famously tried a thousand times to create incandescent light bulb. He said “I learned 999 ways how not to do it. That led me to this.” It’s non-attachment, bringing it to everything you do, you’re just working with the action. The result is information versus a definition of who you are or a life sentence, or even a sign that you can’t have what you want, where the ego tries to discourage you to stop. When you get that negative result, ego stops on and says “Let’s not do that again.” It’s to free yourself to keep acting freely in the world.
Robert Maldonado 47:27
Non-attachment helps us overcome the hindrances of this attachment to life, the ego, the attraction and repulsion, the ignorance of it all. It lightens the mind. As we take more action with non-attachment, enlightenment comes in, we’re understanding the true nature of the mind, the true nature of reality.
Debra Maldonado 47:56
So we’re welcoming whatever result comes in versus saying it has to be door A or B. We’re welcoming whatever comes. There’s a lot of freedom. I think we act more creatively when we’re not so attached. This series is going to continue all summer. We hope you join us, feel free to click on the button here if you’re watching us on YouTube to subscribe to our channel, so you can watch our videos every week. If you’re listening to us on the podcast, please be sure to subscribe on Spotify, iTunes, all the major podcast providers. We would love to have you here every week and enjoy this great topic.
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