To be unattached means that you are free from outside influences that overshadow your real self. This lesson isn’t one our culture teaches us. Modern people place a high value on being committed, excited, passionate, deeply involved, and so forth, and they fail to realize that these qualities are not the opposite of non-attachment. To be committed to a relationship, for example, ultimately means to have enough love and understanding to let the other person be who he or she wants to be.
I’ve found that moments of non-attachment are characterized by the following: I am present with my body; my breathing becomes very refined, approaching stillness; mental activity has calmed down; I feel no threat–there is a certainty of belonging; I perceive my inner world as an open space with no boundaries–awareness extends in all directions rather than being focused on specific thoughts; self-acceptance flows out into the environment. Things “out there” seem intimate to me, an extension of myself.
This experience of unity is also my working definition of love. Do not confuse pleasure with love. There are many things that give pleasure, such as watching television, with very little love in them. Love certainly brings pleasure, but in a more profound way.
Adapted from The Essential Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2007).