Can You Love Without Attachment?
I was feeling an extra special lack of inspiration this last weekend, so I bought a book of daily meditations from the famous Yogi, Rolf Gates. Day 2 has got me feelin’ some type of way about life; I’m a little mind blown to be honest. It starts off talking about sitting down, being present, blah blah blah, and then it serves you the idea of being able to love without being attached.
But I Love Everything!
Right, mind. Blown. I don’t know if I’ve ever loved anything without being attached, everything from my favorite bronzer, to my favorite ice cream, down to my ex-boyfriends. My love is based on those things to live up to the idea I have of them in my head. Obviously non-human things have some kind of consistency: the bronzer is always going to be the same and the ice cream is always going to be delicious. But people, now they’re tricky, messy and notoriously inconsistent.
Can we love people without being attached to the idea we have of what role they’re supposed to play in our lives? We all know that people change with the tides of life, so are we able to let go of the attachments we have to the idea of that person to continue to love them?
My intention was set for this practice and I was going to meditate about the idea of love without attachment. I would inhale a fresh idea of a love with attachment and I would exhale and let go of that attachment. Or that was the goal at least.
Meditate On It
My meditation at the beginning of practice started with my high school sweetheart who recently popped back into my life in a majorly confusing way. We will call him “Steve.” Steve and I were the classic teenage love story: We were neighbors, each other’s confidant, and always best friends first. I can honestly say that I’ve never loved anyone the way I loved Steve, for 3 years of our dumb teen years. In the end, we were too serious for being so young (his mom was right, as much as that pains me to admit).
Upon our breakup, I was angry, sad, and unsteady to say the least. There wasn’t anything wrong with us as a couple, we never fought; we were just way too into each other. A forward fold and a cleansing exhale let go of that. I can stand apart from that love but not be attached to the idea of having it again.
Needless to say, 3 years post-breakup we got into contact, all parties apologized and we saw each other again. We had both changed physically; I wasn’t so skinny and his baby face finally grew a beard. We were both nervous, but our rapport was the same as it always had been—best friends, flirty, and chemistry off the charts. We hugged, kissed, and generally acted like we always had as a couple but we also made it clear to each other neither of us were looking for a relationship. It was clear we do not know how to act like friends.
Our love for each other, however that has changed over the years, is still attached to the idea of us as a couple. As I prepare for Sun Salute B this becomes my intention for meditation in motion. I inhale and recognize that confusion that is there, I exhale and let a small part of it go.
Approximately 6 months went by before we saw each other again. I was coming off of a productive Saturday morning of walking the dog, yoga, and grocery shopping…and he was still trying to get over his hangover. It had never been more apparent to me that we are not meant to be together at this time in our lives, or maybe ever again. Our lives are in two drastically different places, settled versus unsettled. He came over and it went the same, acting like we’re in a relationship when we are mentally and emotionally as far away from that as humanly possible. We will always care for each other, but will it always be attached to the idea of us being together romantically? Will we be able to let go of that attachment to each other to be able to embrace this new situation we are in?
Or is the attachment between us being together romantically and the love between us too strong of a bond to break? Can people really love without attachment? There are a lot of questions, and maybe eventually we can let go of the attachments to the ideas we have so that we can love people unconditionally. I humble warrior and bow to the forces of life that I simply cannot control. That sense of giving up control is the best realization in yoga. Accepting where you are physically, mentally, and more importantly emotionally will always be a challenge. Until I figure out if I can love without attachment, at least I know I can be attached to the idea that every time I exhale, I can let a little bit of it go.
What are your thoughts on this?