Monday, January 24, 2011

Is it possible to have "friends" and practice non-attachment?


  1. Ah yes, Rashaad!

    This is a difficult question. My analysis of yoga philisophical thought is geographic. It grew in India for a very good reason. India has a long history of ignoring extreme poverty and starvation. As opposed to Europe where Greek philosophy emphasized reason and rational thinking/the outward life, yogis have emphasized spirituality/the inward life. We in the West have feared darkness, which precedes the desire to work inward. We emphasize sunniness, the light, going out into the world and conquering it. Americans are expecially optimistic and outgoing as a culture. We refuse to believe or even doubt that we cannot "pull ourselves up by the bootstraps", and when the world tumbles down around us, it has to be someone else's fault. So, again, the thinking process is reflecting outside influences.

    So, in that vein, as a culture it is difficult to tear ourselves away from disbelief and shock when things do not go well for a friend. Attachment is the cultural norm, since we are taught that our relationships are more important to us than our very selves. How many times did I hear a parent describe selfishness as what we have learned to be selflessness in Yoga philosophy? If it had not been for Yoga and other support, I would have been dragged down with my ex-husband when he left me. There is caring and then there is guilt. Only by going inward do we differentiate between the two. But, it doesn't stop there, because there is always doubt. That doubt is part of the human condition.

    Enough already!

    Carol Papalas

  2. I misspelled "philosophical" and "especially". Oh well.