This morning I saw the following quote in my Twitter feed:
“You must choose between your attachment and happiness.” - Adyashanti
Instantly, I thought: “No, I mustn’t. It’s a false dichotomy. There is one attachment I may choose and remain happy.”
Jesus says, “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing…. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:4-5, 9-11)
If one chooses as a starting point the doctrine of maya—that “all is illusion”—and the doctrine of no-god but the deliverance of “enlightenment” that “all is illusion”, then, yes—attachment to anything leads to sorrow. The Buddha taught that suffering consists of the gap between desire and the fulfillment of desire. If we stop desiring, we stop suffering.
Consider the way of Jesus, by contrast. He says our joy will be complete as we remain attached to him, even as he remains attached to his Father. He uses the image of a branch and a vine to help us understand this: the branch will thrive if it remains connected to the vine. I see in this word-picture a double attachment. It is not simply that we need to keep holding onto God for God also holds onto us.
What comfort! What joy! What happiness! I am loved! You are loved! We need only remain in love.
I do not have to choose between the attachment of love and happiness for it is only through this attachment that one can be happy—in fact, more than happy; Jesus says I will have complete joy!
So be it. Today, I cling to You as a little child clings to his parent, as a lover to the Lover of my soul.
Thank you, Father, for gladdening my heart with such a wondrous truth—that abundance of life is found by so simple a faith in you.