Finding Detachment

Saturday Evening Posts
November 29 to December 5 Edition

July 27, 2014

I've said goodbyes in a wink of an eye. I've walked away without even looking back. I've let go of worlds I have come to love.

I can attain a sense of detachment to a greater degree than most people.

I think of detachment in a relationship not as not expecting to be loved in return, but as not being emotionally dependent on other people.

I think of detachment in finances not as not caring about money, but having the strength to start over again, without the paralyzing stings of bitterness and regret, when all is lost.

It's not about having no feelings because that's part of being human.

It's about being shielded from the effects of raging emotions, like driving through the rain comfortable and dry in your car, protected from the elements.  All of this starts within.

"I am my only source for change and we can change at any age and in any circumstance," writes Buddhist author Clarice Bryan in Expect Nothing: A Zen Guide. "When I'm mindful I don't make mistakes. When I am here, now, and not somewhere else, I am harmonious with all around me. When I am here now, I am fully alive." 

Attaining detachment is like tending a Japanese garden. One needs to be fully in the moment, in mind and spirit.

"When I am present, here and now in all things I'm doing, I am much slower, but more precise," she says. "I rarely make mistakes."

I try to practice the Buddhist art of meditation where I became aware of my every act, and the nuances and the layers of meaning behind my every move. It grounds me in the center of everything yet letting me transcend them.

"Mindfulness is non-judgmental and impartial," writes Bryan. "It's impossible to take sides and still be mindful."

What I like about Buddhism is the way it embraces everything unlike the other major religions which thrive on elite righteousness and exclusive salvation. At the same time, it doesn't coerce anyone. Yet I believe that the philosophy can only be understood by a heart that is ready to accept.

"I believe we can and must start our own evolution," she writes. "We have so much to start with, so many miracles, and we can choose to create more."

 "By recognizing failure we change, renew, adapt, listen and grow," says Thich Nhat Hanh, one of Bryan's gurus for whom she dedicates her book. "It is only only by participating with expectation of success that we can truly open to the world, to suffering and to joy."  

Thich Nhat Hanh 
with Oprah Winfrey

"To release," says Sogyal Rinpoche, her other guru, "means to release mind from its prison of grasping, since you recognize that all pain and fear and distress arise from the craving of the grasping mind."

Sogyal Rinpoche
The Mind and the Nature of Mind

There is a passage from Buddha's The Dhammapada:

We are what we think
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world
speak or act with a pure mind
and happiness will follow you
as your shadow, unshakable

Jonathan Aquino's Journal

October 7, 2014

I dreamed the other night I was in a strange house under a shroud of darkness.

I was alone, seeing glimpses of empty gray walls. I can't even see the floor: everything else was black.

I knew that someone had died there though there was no paranormal activity. I can feel his psychic imprint if not his presence.

I was looking for the woman who owns the house but she was nowhere to be found. I wanted to tell her that her husband's father died in his sleep, lying in bed with his legs crossed like he's sitting in an armchair.

In a flash, I was taking a shower in that gloomy house. Suddenly the ghostly curtain was pulled back. A man was standing there urging me to come. He said that the man I tried to heal was now okay. In the dream, I seem to know him though not in my waking life.

One may see the act of taking a bath as a symbol of purification (or the need for one). Some may interpret it twelve ways to Sunday. If I bump into Sigmund Freud's spirit, he'll probably tell me I'm a sex machine. Dreams, says the clairvoyant George Noory, have their own internal logic.

In My Dreams
REO Speedwagon

"We climb and climb and at the top we fly,
let the world go on below us, we are lost in time..."


"If you're studying for an exam you're not thinking about the results. If you're always worried about the results, you can't study a lot. So to be engaged and detached from the outcome is excellent. Excellence is behavior. I mean, isn't that what martial arts is about? And that's what meditation is about, that's what, in many ways, sports are about." ~ Deepak Chopra
"You see, idealism detached from action is just a dream. But idealism allied with pragmatism, with rolling up your sleeves and making the world bend a bit, is very exciting. It's very real. It's very strong." ~ Bono
Photos courtesy of,
"Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones." ~ Thich Nhat Hanh