Passion and non-attachment

Passion and non-attachment are often seen as mutually exclusive.

I think this is a false assumption; indeed, without passion, we come back to ‘detachment’ rather than non-attachment.

Passion is often viewed as fire. But could it be that this is only the youthful manifestation of passion, that passion also also resides in the still waters of a deep pool?

Mindfulness, being fully present in the moment seem to be fundamental to both passion and joy. Yet these are also an essential part of non-attachment. I aspire to living this moment utterly and with integrity, yet to be unattached to the outcome. And only by being unattached to the outcome can I inhabit this moment, for otherwise there is always at least some part of me projecting into the future and the ‘what ifs’.

The place of passion (2)

Passion, meaning, engagement, flow, now . . .

These were some of the themes I highlighted in my last post. I wonder if all or any of these are part of the essential stuff of joy?

Passion – I think there must be a kind of passion inherent in joy; that sense of intensity, what else can we call it? But I also sense that, with age, perhaps we develop an awareness of different shadings of passion.

In the context of loving partnerships we draw a distinction between the initial fire of romantic love and the deeper rootedness of enduring love. Some class only the first as ‘passion’. It seems to me limiting to see only ‘fire’ as passion.  There is just as much intensity in the depths of a still pool. Joy is inherent in both.

If I define passion in this way, then I believe it is indeed an ingredient in the experience of joy. However, I am not at this point clear whether the relationship is as cause or effect.

Meaning – It seems to me that those experiences that people cite as bringing them joy invariably carry a deep personal significance.  These include the great ‘human’ events, such as falling in love, marriage, birth. They include specific relationships – with partners, with children, with friends, with pets. Then there is the response to nature and natural beauty, to the arts, or to religious experience

We respond to those things we find ‘meaning-full’ in some way. However, when I look at all of these, what strikes me is that what underlies our joyful response is a sense of connection beyond ourselves to another being – human, animal or divine – or to nature and/or the universe.

So my question her is, is what is important connection and does our perception of meaning first require a sense of connection? In a world that is, superficially, increasingly connected yet in which at a deeper level there is anomie and rootlessness, this would explain the lack of a clear sense of and capacity for joy.

Engagement, flow and ‘nowness’ – I think it is almost impossible to experience joy unless you are fully present. Therefore it this trio seem increasingly to be pre-conditions for cultivating a capacity for joy.

The song of ‘now’

If joy is fundamentally a way of being, then I think that it must also be rooted in the experience of ‘now-ness’.  Only when you are attentive and in the present moment can you connect fully to what is around you and just ‘be’. Yet sometimes it seems so difficult to bring ourselves to that place.

I recently came across the rather lovely suggestion that one very important part of what music gives us is a way of learning to be in the moment – you do not look forward to the end of the song, you enjoy the experience of it!

If we are able more and more to bring this awareness into our living, can we perhaps learn to sing the song of ‘now’?