Chapter 18: Non-attachment Is Not Aversion
But when you neither cling to a thing nor run away from it, when you become receptive to everything - good or bad, beautiful or ugly, pleasant or painful - when you become like a mirror reflecting everything that comes before it, then your mind remains unscathed and unmarked. And such a mind is a non-attached mind; it is established in non attachment.
You want to know how an ordinary person can achieve non attachment. In fact, everyone is ordinary until he attains to non attachment. So the question how an ordinary person can become non-attached does not arise. As long as one is attached or averse to something he remains an ordinary person. Extraordinariness comes with non attachment, not before. It is not that ordinary people come to non attachment in one way and extraordinary ones come to it in another way. Only one who has transcended both attachment and aversion is extraordinary. So the right question to ask is: How can one attain to non attachment?
Before we go into the question of non attachment, let us understand the matter of attachment itself. How is it that one ceases to be non-attached and becomes attached to persons, things and ideas?
According to Krishna, non attachment is embedded in the very nature of a human being, in his very being. Non attachment is our basic nature, our original face. So the real question is how one deviates from his nature. We, don’t have to practice non attachment, we don’t have to do something to come to it. We have only to know how we have gone astray from our nature. This is our basic question.
Someone came to me the other day and said, “I want to find God.” I asked him when and how he had lost his God. His answer was that he had never lost him.
Then I asked him, “How can you search for a thing that you have not lost? Search implies that you lost something and now you are trying to recover it. Therefore,” I said to him, “it is not a question of finding God. You would have to find God if you had really lost him. So first you have to know if you have lost him. And if you come to know on your own that you never lost him, the search is complete.”
Non attachment is our self-nature, we are born with it. So it is strange that in life, we all become victims of attachment and aversion. Non attachment is our very nature. If attachment is our nature, we cannot manage to be averse to anything. If aversion was our nature, we could not fall prey to attachment. For example, a branch of a tree sways westward with the westerly wind and eastward with the easterly wind. How is it that the branch sways with the winds? Because it is neither in the east nor in the west; it is just in the middle.
Let us take another example: when we boil water it becomes hot, and when we cool it it becomes cold, because water in itself is neither hot nor cold. If water was intrinsically hot it could never become cold; it could never be heated if it was basically cold. Water’s own nature transcends both hot and cold, so we can easily heat or cool it as we like.