The art of non attachment

One of the central teachings of zen is that of non-attachment.

At its basic core the idea is that we should not be attached to people, possessions, ideas, concepts or other things that come into our lives. Among other things, attachment can lead to suffering as nothing in life is permanent or assured.

In practicing non-attachment we free ourselves from the constant struggle for “things” and are better equipped to deal with the situation when something is removed.


All good in theory, and I do try my best to practice this one. (I place some of my own special twists on to this. I won’t go into those here, but they tend to focus on people more than things.)

However, I’m currently getting a lesson in non-attachment. A big one!

My computer died yesterday.

Yes, my big 27″ iMac went belly up yesterday, and let me tell you something. I’m attached to it!

Now, I didn’t lose any data. I’m a good boy and I back up my files on a daily basis. Nothing lost and I’ll be able to restore everything.


When I get the computer back.

You see, it’s out of warranty, and apparently the campus tech store where I took it to have the hard drive replaced has a turnaround time of about 5 days. Yikes!

Five days without my computer. Today is day one and let me tell you something. I’m attached to it.

The giant hole on my desk not withstanding, I miss it.

I’m amazed at how “lost” I feel without it. Things I take for granted are now gone and trying to figure ways to do things without it are interesting at best.

A lesson in non-attachment at its best.

However, it’s given me an incentive to try something and ask myself a basic question.

How much do I really need it?

And more interesting; can I do everything in a normal work day on my iPad instead of my desktop?

It’s an interesting question.

So while I really do miss my desktop (it’s so pretty), I get to try an exercise in non-attachment and mobile computing.

So far:

• Read news, articles and internal organization threads – check.
• Read and reply to large amounts of email – check.
• Edit some word files and return them to the owners for review – check.
• Start laying out next year’s budget for my department in an excel file – check.
• Create a couple PDF files from completed policy files – check.
• Print and sign some order forms – hmmm

Ok. This is the first stumper of the day. I know it “can” be done. Just never had cause to do it here. Note to self; will have to research this more.

So we will see how this little experiment goes. However, it’s giving me some new perspective in my level of non-attachment. I might not be as non-attached as I thought I might be. Seems I like my techno toys.

/sarcastic_shocked_expression = On

But then, we knew that didn’t we?

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