Still on the Soul train, let’s speak today about attachment, the middle path, and the perils of obsession.
The peril of when we get so deep into it, so obsessed to it, so attached to it, such that we, counterintuitively, lose touch with ourselves and even that very thing which we love. We become no longer connected to what makes us passionate, what lights us up. We become, instead, entombed by it.
This is what happened to Anton Ego, the character from (another Pixar film) Ratatouille, where he became so subsumed by his “love” of food to the point where it became his identity. And inside of that identity the very enjoyment of food was lost.
Soul makes this pretty explicit with the vast sea of Lost Souls, over which hovers the airs of those in the Zone. In the zone is being passionate and free and excited and joyous and, importantly, hyper-present.* But it can be a short journey down to the sea when we become attached to something – an outcome, a social result, a status symbol, the experience, a feeling – or to make it integral to our sense of who we are.
And in that sea, the joy, the freedom, the passion, all is washed away. We still do the thing, but the attachment, again, counterintuitively, kaiboshes that which we want.
Let go of the attachment, and we can float up towards the Zone once more.**
And when we practice mindfulness and paddle down the middle path (river?), we both ease our entry into the zone while ensuring that we do not lose ourselves, either to flighty dispersion out of the Zone or into the swampy sea of attachment and Lost Souls.
* That is one of the most interesting facets of being in the zone, and also one of the more “surefire” ways of knowing that we were in the zone – time getting all warbly and losing the sense of time. In those moments where I have been the most present, whether in wonder or creativity or even battling it out with foam weapons while being suspended from under the Thunderdome, it’s always been fascinating to resurface and realize that time felt very different, and even to not have complete memories of what happened. Myself (as a being, as my authentic self, and not as my calculating self or identity), time, the universe, were all “one”.
** Of course, the film undercuts itself by going for the cheap joke of the day trader who, upon being reconnected, rebels and shoves everything off his desk, which isn’t necessarily wrong as it is cliché and thus, at least to me, renders it trite and thus diminishes the impact of what they were exploring and illustrating.