Thursday, April 3, 2014

Dharma Series continued!

Pencil Crayon and ink on A4 Bristol Board

The Buddhist concept of non-attachment is often misunderstood in Western culture. For example, I once told a friend I was going to buy a set of mala beads to help me with my meditation practice. Her comment was that buying something wasn't very Buddhist.

I retorted by saying non-attachment wasn't about not owning stuff. I could have a whole house full of stuff but what would be Buddhist of me would be accepting, if that house burned down, the loss of all my possessions.

Since then my understanding of this has deepened quite a bit and I can see my own explanation as quite weak because non-attachment is not rooted in the physical world.

One thing I've learned while on my path is there will be a shift from intellectual understanding of a teaching to a deep 'knowing'. Intellectually I understood that letting go would result in an overall improvement to my sense of wellbeing because obviously, if I put less importance in 'stuff', the loss of said 'stuff' wouldn't bother me so much.

This made perfect sense to me and was reflective of one of the many important lessons my mum taught me when I was growing up. She made it abundantly clear that if my brother or I were to break a glass, for example, it was far more important that we weren't hurt than that we'd been careless. As human beings we had more value than a thing.

Recently I experienced the shift from intellectually grasping this idea of letting go, to a deep 'knowing'. I came to see how attachment has nothing to do with the 'thing', but with our perception of it. To genuinely practice non-attachment we must learn how to view the world without expectation. 

It's not about letting go of things but letting go of perceptions and ideas about how the world should or shouldn't be. Effectively, non-attachment is accepting the world as dynamic, fluid, ever changing. 

My intention was to capture this realisation in this piece of work. Whether I accomplished that or not is unknowable, but I enjoyed making it and ultimately, that's all that matters.

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