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Chapter 18: Non-attachment Is Not Aversion

If attachment is our self-nature, there is no way to be repelled by anything. But we are easily repelled. If clinging was our self-nature we could not give up anything, but we do give things up. In the same way if renunciation was our self-nature, we could not cling to a thing, but we cling like leeches. It simply means that neither attachment nor aversion is intrinsic to our self-nature. Therefore we move in both directions - we now become attached and then averse to something. Because our innate nature transcends both these states of mind, we can move conveniently into them.

Let us take yet another example. We can open and shut our eyes whenever we like, because basically our eyes are neither open nor shut. If to be open was the very nature of the eyes, we could never close them. And if they were inherently closed we could never open them. Eyes can be both opened and closed at will because their self-nature transcends both states, they are beyond them. Opening and closing is external to them; really it happens because of the eyelids. In the same way our consciousness is essentially non-attached; it is only its eyelids, its coverings that get attached or repelled by something.

So the first thing to understand is that non attachment is our self-nature; we are born with it. It is our original face.

Secondly, we have to understand that it is only our self-nature that we can attain to; we can never attain to that which is alien to our self-nature. Really we can achieve only that which we already are at some deeper level of our beings. A seed grows into a flower because it is already a flower in its depth. A rock cannot grow into a flower, because never mind its depth, not even its surface has anything to do with a flower. If you sow a rock in the soil like a seed, it will ever remain a rock; it can never turn into a flower. On the surface both rock and seed look alike, but if you sow them together the seed will turn into a flower, while the rock will remain always the same. So we can say that a seed becomes a flower because it is inherently a flower.

It is one of the fundamental laws of life that we can become only that which we already are at the center of our being; what is hidden at the center becomes manifest at the circumference.

Therefore non attachment is our self-nature - not attachment or aversion. That is why sometimes we get attached to a thing and then are repelled by it.

And we can return to non attachment because it is our essential nature: that is to say, the seed can grow into a flower.

It is not that non attachment is the nature of a few; it is everybody’s nature. Wherever consciousness is, it is always beyond attachment and rejection. Our highest intelligence transcends both clinging and aversion. It is a different matter that in its behavior, consciousness attaches itself to something or rejects something else. But that is its behavioral side; it is like the eyelids open and close whenever they have to.

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