Buddhists believe that you can only reach enlightenment through detachment of all things. However, detachment does not mean indifference. Detachment in Buddhism is associated with a determination to be free. The “Four Noble Truths” of Buddhism are as follows:
- Life as we know it ultimately is or leads to suffering/uneasiness in one way or another.
- Suffering is caused by craving. This is often expressed as a deluded clinging to a certain sense of existence, to self-hood, or to the things or phenomena that we consider the cause of happiness or unhappiness. Craving also has its negative aspect, i.e. one craves that a certain state of affairs not exist.
- Suffering ends when craving ends. This is achieved by eliminating delusion, thereby reaching a liberated state of Enlightenment;
- Reaching this liberated state is achieved by following the path laid out by the Buddha.
I am not a Buddhist (I don’t know enough about it to be), but I have learned a lot from the teachings of the Buddha. My entire life I have followed a course created by my parents, peers, religion, invisible social expectations, the military, and even the women in my life. I feel that I have accomplished all that is expected of me and I now want to be free of it all. So… free from what, specifically? Oh, so many things! I must clarify that I am not trying to disappear from the world. If anything, I am trying to be a more productive member of my planet. I want to be a nutrient in our ecosystem and not a gear in society’s over-consuming machinery. No, I am not a hippie. I just see that there are many negative influences around all of us and it worries me. I see all these things as a smog cloud floating over actual reality and nickname it “the matrix”. Yes, I stole that from the movie. Get over it.
This entire process is new to me and as time passes I will improve on my plan and adjust my path accordingly. For now, these are a few things that I am trying to disconnect from or dedicate less time to (it’s a process!):
-Internet (Non-productive use of it)
-Gossip (in any medium)
-The Club Scene
-Cultural Expectations (I am Hispanic)
-My Expectations of the Future