Posted by: scintillatingspeck | December 23, 2012

Non-attachment. Unconditional love.

There is a recent essay by Dave Pollard, Preparing for Collapse: Non-Attachment, NOT Detachment, that struck me with particular force of late.  Some of the ideas he discusses were from comments at Nature Bats Last, comments that have been rattling around my brain for a while.  What is this non-attachment?  Why does the idea of it draw me closer?  Why does part of me recoil?  I can see why Dave added “NOT detachment” in his essay title; the term “non-attachment” does seem, on the surface, to imply “detachment,” which to my exceptionally emotional self feels like a fate worse than death (despite any agony experienced along the way).

There is something about non-attachment that feels wrong to me, which I suppose is an indicator that I’m still flailing this way and that and feeling unmoored.  I want to be attached.  I want to love the world as fully as I do.  The prospect of not being attached feels like a betrayal of that love, a sort of giving up.  How could I just sit there and watch the agonizing death of my beautiful world?  No, let’s make it personal.  “The world” is too vague.  Let’s represent the whole world in the narrowest of circles, those I know and love.  Am I not attached to them with the fiercest of knotted ropes?  Are those ropes a testament to my love, or a testament to my fear?

The prospects for the future, if we are being honest, are awful.  How can anyone be expected to cope adequately with such unbearable information?  It’s no wonder that denial is the drug of choice among most.  I don’t blame them.  Nor do I blame those who are bargaining like mad, scrabbling for a foothold on an impossibly steep slope of loose stones.  I don’t blame anyone for reaching out for any coping mechanism at hand, even complete, willful blindness.  But none of those particular ways of coping are open to me at this point.  I can picture a future of suffering.  I can picture my child suffering.  I know there is little I can do to mitigate it.

Maybe I need to get away from the word “non-attachment.”  Where my thoughts have been settling instead, recently, is on unconditional love.  Could they be the same?

Unconditional love is hard.  My grasping ego wants and wants.  I want resolution, I want happy endings, I want everyone to have their needs met, I want MY needs to be met, I want, endlessly.  How can love be offered with no expectations?  But lately I’ve been stepping back a tiny bit from that deluge of longing, observing it from a (very short) distance.

The truths that come to me are these.

There are no guarantees of resolution.  There never were.  You have no control over anyone else.  You will surely watch people you love make mistakes, repeatedly.  You will make your own mistakes, repeatedly.  Sometimes it will be sheer hell to witness.  You are required to bear witness to enormous suffering.  Simultaneously, if you resist the impulse to be numb, you can witness the most sublime joy and beauty; you can participate in profound, glowing intimacy.  This is the parting gift of the time that remains.  It is essential to let go of a “good” outcome as some sort of holy grail.  There will be no happy ending.  Or perhaps, this IS the happy ending; we’re living it, right now, if we choose to be awake.  This is the essence of unconditional love: it exists, and it’s enough.  It is more than enough.  It doesn’t lead anywhere.  It radiates like the sun.



  1. You’re on to something there, my dear. You can detach from the illusion that you control outcomes, and remain attached to best hopes, best efforts, best connections. Love you–

    • To truly witness the passages, the sorrows and joys, the grief and rejoicing, and all other attractions and aversions that come by, they must be allowed to free movement, as they may come or go. Holding onto them or pushing them away is disruptive.

  2. To truly love, one cannot bind the object of one’s love with knotted ropes, real or emotional. Love needs no ropes: the ropes will be cast aside when there is love.

    Wanting is attraction, wanting avoidance is aversion. To witness them in their fullness one cannot cling to either.

    • I was using the image of knotted ropes to circle around to that point. I must not have completed the circle. Let me make a declarative statement: the ropes are not a testament of love, but of fear.

  3. yeah.

  4. it’s reminding me of my favorite david richo book: the five things we cannot change.

  5. I like the idea of a happy ending.

  6. Recently ‘was told’ in prayer 2 guides when asking what lesson i needed to learn in my last relationship, i heard ‘you needed to have the experience of unconditional love’. I already thought i had known that & what that meant. But the voice paused, then said…’with detachment’. Ive only recently been introduced to my guides by a new teacher, when seeking help, out of emotional desperation for clarity. I knew i wasnt making up the last phrase i heard, since those words never would have occured to me. After going in endless circles on for detachment, ‘i’ (?) thought to google the entire idea. Bingo. (But humbly for real) So many articles to lead me forward and a place here to voice my ‘miracle’. Until tonight i had no idea what the real definition of unconditional love was. Granted, i see samadhi included in some articles, but having experienced that spontaneously and only once 20 years ago during the right astrological transit, i cant imagine functioning in that ‘other worldly’ state regulary

  7. Forgive me for not reading your about page till after my post. Didnt realize this was your blog & maybe that means my comments should be brief? I’m ‘share site’ naive and google only took me to this one post, which moved me by the way for its honesty and inspiration. Just to finish my share, since i ran outa room b4, i especially enjoyed google find of ‘fifth state of consciouness by maud pollock’. And guides led me yesterday to the documemtary ‘i am’ by ace ventura director turned spiritualist. The scientific case for unconditional love. I love your picture caption!

  8. I now see the check box for email notices. Yes please, would love to read more from those of you on this path.

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