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Wanting & Detachment

To look deeply within, we start small, we start at center. We use the idea of centripetal force and intentionally draw our attention, our energy, our interests back into the smaller focus. This is the effort of concentration. It is the un-doing of diffusion, distraction.

Finding center is difficult when we want what is beyond us, and easy, natural, when we are interested in what we are capable of, and how to apply ourselves towards the purpose we choose to live, to work towards.

And as we return to center, it is interesting to note why we reached out, lost touch. There is a feeling that inspires wanting: feelings of being incomplete, of being in need, of feeling not-enough. There is a deep sense of lack, of inadequacy that inspires the need to prove ourselves, to show our worth, to validate our time and effort.

Sometimes we de-center and reach out because we have the opposite feelings: an overwhelming or positive sense of having so much, of needing to give what we have. We can feel too full, in need of an outlet or undeserving of what we have.

Both the sense of lack and abundance can go positive or negative; we learn to first notice the feelings then willfully choose how to direct our efforts. It is both challenging and simpler to become detached from both our desires as well as what we desire. We notice what we want, we notice that we want, and we act accordingly, working and reaching without becoming hung-up on the work, or on the goal.

Detachment from desire is different from not-wanting. To not-want, we turn inwards, focused and grateful for what we have, stepping away from the world and not wanting to be in it, or work on it, or to take from it. This is the ascetic’s way: to isolate, in mastery of not-wanting. But this can also be the building of walls between ourselves and a fully realized life. It prevents us from experiencing rejection, it saves us from feeling anything deeply, and we can construct our identity around this sense of safety.

When we step away from these constructs of safety, that keep us not-wanting, and away from the negative reaches away from lack/overabundance, then we are free to want or not want, with detachment.

This is a skill difficult to learn because it is so rarely seen in the world. We can be in the world, acting lightly, reaching and working, without being caught up. We keep a sense of inner stability, the connection with center that reminds us we are self-sufficient, complete in ourselves, and able to give and take with broad awareness of our dreams and goals.




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