Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Love and Attachment

Love is a wonderful feeling. We never want that other person to leave us. If we allow ourselves to grow so fearful that they will leave us, we may undermine our own growth. We may not speak up for ourselves when our beloved acts poorly or insenstively. We may turn the other way when they act badly towards others. We may find ways to make excuses for them. We may find that we no longer have energy to do the things we love because we are so focused on making another happy. At some point, this need has ceased to be love but has become attachment.

Marc Epstein has a wonderful book on Desire and attachment. The Buddhist belief is that all attachment is bad. Yet, to have a loving close relationship, we need to have some level of attachment and caring. He takes this to an interesting concept of being attached and wanting the other, but understanding the space between us and our beloved and savoring that distance.

Epstein has been a profound writer on Buddhist philosophy from the perspective of a therapist and all his books have much food for thought. Today, on a day where everyone is recognizing love, perhaps the book most appropriate is Open to Desire, his book on embracing a "lust for life", and the attachment that comes from a committed, loving relationship.


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