What do a hot air balloon tied to the ground, and a ship, tied to a dock have in common? Obviously they are attached to something, unable to express their true nature. The balloon is made to soar in the air, and the ship is meant to float on the waves. Similarly, when we remain attached to something we are unable to express our true nature.
I have mentioned before that I had been reading John Daido Loori’s, “The Zen of Creativity.” I had stopped reading it for some time until yesterday, when I picked it up again. I was on Chapter 7, “Barriers.” What are barriers?
In the context of the book they are things that block us in our creative process. But in my personal experience I received a second insight. The first insight was that I was attached to the fantasy of Brittany, and later perhaps to the one I thought of as my love. This is the how you can be attached to something that is nothing. It is a Koan with an answer. The second insight was that I had a barrier, and my attachment to this fantasy, as well as Brittany and the one I thought of as my love themselves, among other things, were all parts of this barrier.
I began to think and came to some other realizations. I saw how my attachment made me heavy. That’s the best way I can describe it. It made my spirit, my soul, my essence heavy. I also saw that the relationship was not healthy. Not for her or for me. Not bad or good, no judgments here, just unhealthy. Once again the old axiom, “No Attachment No Aversion” resounded true. I saw that if it was meant for us to be together then we would be, in this life or the next. I resolved to begin the process of detaching myself from this fantasy.
In Loori’s book he details the process of getting past a barrier as simply becoming intimate with it. Be the barrier, feel it, center those feelings in your Hara, with is in roughly the same location as the second chakra and lower Dan Tien. Then express it through some medium. An article on Transmutation I printed out details this further, sans the process of expressing the barrier. It teaches to feel it, become one with it, follow it to its roots, then releasing it. Someday, if it flows for me to do so, once I have completed it myself, I will merge both teachings into one comprehensive, easy to follow process and put up a YouTube video or something.
I have started this process tonight. I held a picture of Brittany, the same one I carried with me some months ago. I traced the outline of her face. I let the tears come. I felt. I did all of this while centering my feelings in my Hara. I did not force anything, did not judge. Just sat with Brittany, my barrier, and felt, centering my feelings.
In time memories came to mind, other relationships, things that have happened to me. I did not feel I was ready to let go of Brittany just yet so I worked from the past forward. Letting go of all relationships and prospective relationships. Always acknowledging first, then sitting with the memory, then letting go when I sensed it was time.
I came to see that I have a problem, another barrier that is (maybe now that I have acknowledged it, was) keeping me from having a relationship. I saw that because of things that were done to me in my past that I have a tendency to attach myself to a prospective partner. This is not healthy. When we love someone we must love them freely, in the moments we are with them. When they go we must be thankful for the time we had, but we have to let go as freely. I have said before that love lets go. I have espoused a truth that I was not practicing.
It is completely different from what society teaches. We, in American culture at least, are raised to meet someone, get married, have children, etc. We say vows, sign forms. Once we are married we are expected to stay together, whatever happens, for better or worse, and work things out. This system is flawed. It turns a relationship to an obligation. It removes any ability to love freely, in the moment. If two people get married, but the relationship is unhealthy, they will be unhappy together, and this will affect their children and others around them.
Essentially marriage kills love, it is not an expression of true, real love. Love is like the balloon, the ship. It has to be untethered, unattached, free. I am not taking you back to the 60’s and “Free Love” either. What I am saying is that two people, if it flows for them to be together for any length of time, should get together and be silently committed to each other, heart to heart. They should stay together only as long as it flows for them to do so, and there should be no issue of either of them being disloyal because they freely, deeply and truly love each other. They are not imprisoned by contracts and vows. The love between them is free, and therefore stronger than any formal commitment.
My problem with attachment was only part of the barrier between me and a relationship. Another aspect is this idea I have that I have to find someone to be with before I am too old. I don’t want to me 70 years old before I have sex. But what is this? Negative focus, focus on what I don’t want, which creates that reality. So I let this go. I can’t be free to love in the moment if I feel I have to love within a certain set period of time. In order to open myself up to a relationship I have to detach myself from this idea, from any other attachment, and love freely.
My brother has this joke that I will be the real 40 year old virgin, referring to the movie. I can’t let the ideas, opinions and thoughts of others influence me so negatively. I have to believe and trust that if it is meant for me to be with someone I will be with them. It will flow for us to bet together. and if someone flows into my life this way, I must love her freely, in the moments we share, letting her go just as freely, should it no longer flow for us to be together. Only when I have this proper mindset will I be open to relationships, and will any hope I have of having sex before I’m too old to enjoy it be fulfilled. So I will no longer worry, no longer attach. I will love freely, in the moment, should someone flow into my life.
Sure I can force the issue. Go out and find a prostitute. Game females at bars and clubs until I win one. But the end result will be this… Whatever I gain by force will not be as good as whatever I gain by flow. I wish I could phrase that better. By saying good or bad it opens the door to judgement. No judgement here, no comparisons. Just the knowledge that what is gained by flow will be better, healthier, longer lasting, purer, truer, deeper, etc. than anything I could ever gain by force.
So I am detaching myself from Brittany, from the one I thought of as my love, from the fantasy. The process will take the time it needs. I will not rush it. The only force used was to initiate this process, and it will be the only force I will every use as far a I can determine. The rest is left to flow and to time.
I keep a place in my heart for Brittany, for the one I thought of as my love. I wear the ring she gave me. I set an intention that if she exists, in this life or the next, should it flow for me to do so, I will be with her, be hers for as long as it flows for us to be together. This is still heaven to me. But only of she exists, only if it flows for me to be with her. No attachments to this relationship, no aversion to it either. No attachments to other relationships, no aversions to them either. Just openness to love freely in the moment should such moments flow into my life.
I will have to sit with this barrier, all its moorings, for some undetermined amount of time until I have moved past it. At some point I will express it in some medium, perhaps a mandala. Eventually the time may come for me to finish the process by expressing love with light.
Really what it comes down to, the best way to express it, is to say that the relationships based on this fantasy are unhealthy. Not right or wrong. Just unhealthy. For Brittany, for the one i thought of as my love, for me. Once it no longer flows to be with someone it is unhealthy for either of you to continue to love the other. You bring suffering to yourself, you may bring suffering to them. You bring heaviness to yourself, you may bring heaviness to them. If you really love yourself, how could you do this to yourself? If you really love them, how could you do this to them?
Real love does not cause suffering. It is a gentle, light, airy creature. It is only in our human manipulations of it that it can become a twisted monster. Look at your relationships and ask yourself, “Is it healthy for me to be with this person?” See if there is suffering, which comes of holding on, attachment. Find a way to love them freely, openly, loosely. Trust that if you are meant to be together you will be. Love freely and openly in the moments you have. If the other leaves be grateful for the time you had, but let them go. Set the balloon free, cast the ship off the dock. Let love express itself freely without attachment.
It is our attachments, these mooring lines, that hold us in place, that become barriers to our freedom. To be free, to express our true nature, we have to be unattached.