08 June 2006

Attachment or Commitment

I bought Healing and the Mind because I am a big fan of Bill Moyers's interviews.

The book ends with Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen discussing the importance of community in the power of healing vs. curing.

It was so insightful and holistic and almost poetic that when I heard she had a whole book of essays coming out, I immediately went to find it.

I found myself standing next to Robert Downey Jr. in the health section of the Borders bookstore on Michigan Avenue in Chicago.

We stood side-by-side, silently scanning titles until I found Kitchen Table Wisdom and left.

As I've read it for the third time, my nomadic mood dwells on her story of attachment vs. commitment where a young man refused to have his foot amputated after frostbite had led to gangrene.

It was threatening his life but he couldn't let it go until his desperate fiancee placed her engagement ring on his blackened toe. Terribly distraught, she asked him what he really wanted.

Because attachment seems to come so naturally, I believe that leads to two consequences:
  • First, it means that it's so difficult to let go of things.

  • Second, it also means that it's so easy to get used to things.
I think attachment will naturally happen. We always start to adapt to our environment.

I was struck by this when reading Anya Peters's blog.

She'd been very unhappily living in her car for nine months on a laneway by the woods outside of London. She had not chosen her lifestyle.

Even though she told the BBC, "I don't ever want it to happen again," she also said in her 23 feb. 06 entry "I imagine ties to place can be as strong as family ones sometimes. I feel that about the laneway a bit already, will miss it when I go."

A friend asked me about my blog, "By the way, what are you attached to? I read a lot about what you can do without, but wonder what you have discovered to be essential?"

While I think that attachment will always naturally occur - we will always adapt to our environment - commitment will never just happen.

Maybe commitment is always deliberate choice?

Maybe commitments are values, the things that we have decided to always deliberately choose no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in?

No matter how difficult it is to make that choice?

My answers included qualities of curiosity and genuineness.

I am curious because I want to understand as much as possible about how the world works and I am genuine because to not be genuine would be a waste of a life.

I will always shake off everything that gets in the way of my being able to practice those two characteristics.

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