Originally Posted by opalescent
I dislike the idea of letting go of attachments. That part of Buddhist thought bugs me, as well as what I perceive to be disdain for the world. A major reason I am pagan is that many pagan paths love and appreciate the world rather than seek to escape or transcend it. Anyhoo, off topic and your mileage will vary obviously!
I think this line of conversation is at least partially "on topic" since the OP was asking about how not to get attached to outcomes.
I also struggle with the idea that of "letting go of attachments" is a positive thing, but if I shift my perspective a little it goes something like this: We are often "attached" to the "idea" of a person or concept and the "role" that they play in our relationship to them. By "letting go" of our "attachment" to a person AS our friend, or AS our lover we allow ourselves to really SEE someone for THEMSELVES - the whole person - and then appreciate them in a more encompassing way, all of their aspects. We can then take this new-found "global appreciation" and turn it to the REST of the world - the people we don't like or are indifferent to ALSO provide us with opportunities to grow and learn - which we often miss out on if we are focused on the objects of our "attachment". So rather than cultivating a "disdain for the world" we can try to cultivate an "appreciation for the world", which includes ALL of it, not just the slivers and aspects (of the world, of people) that we happen to LIKE.
In the book I am reading (Jitterbug Perfume
, by Tom Robbins) two of the characters have a conversation about the Buddhist take on desire (which to me is an aspect of attachment - we don't tend to desire things that we have no attachment to - whether it be outcomes, relationships, sexual experiences, objects):
Alobar: "Here they teach that much of existence amounts only to misery; that misery is caused by desire; therefore, if desire is eliminated, then misery will be eliminated...If a person forswears pleasure in order to avoid misery, what has he gained?
...If desire causes suffering, it may be because we do not desire wisely, or that we are inexpert at obtaining what we desire....why not get better at fulfilling desire?...I don't want salvation, I want life, all of life, the miserable as well as the superb." (and so on, in that vein)
Kudra: "Look at it this way. The word desire
suggests that there is something we do not have. If we have everything already, then there can be no desire, for there is nothing left to want. I think that what the Buddha may have been trying to tell us is that we have it all, each of us, all the time; therefore, desire is simply unnecessary. To eliminate the agitation and disappointment of desire, we need but awaken to the fact that we have everything we want and need right now."
Again, from my perspective - when we are attached to someone or something, when we desire it, what I think that we are really attached to/ what we really desire is the "happiness" (or joy or fulfillment) that we feel having that person/relationship/thing will "give" us, or "make" us feel. BUT - no person/outcome/object can "make" us happy - that has to come from inside of us.
Whew...well THAT got long...I'll stop now.