Some philosophical and religious systems claim that attachment is our source of being unhappy. There is indeed a great truth. If the world, and everyone and everything in it, is not the way we expect it to be, this results in being unhappy in various degrees.
However, the opposite of being attached might even be a bigger source of unhappiness. The realms of detachment, are the realms of emotional numbness. An emotional numbness similar to what we experience during the silences of depression. And some of those who favour being detached, become attached to their detachment. Some become intolerant of our societies and our ‘shallow’ consumerism. Detachment goes further, and looks to numb the senses. Gone sensuality, beauty, awe, … in the end self-respect. There is a truth in not touching fire not to get burned, but there’s another saying: “Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
Being detached, or being attached, both belong to our dual world. Words with an opposite, like many adjectives, are a cause of separation, division, and hence intolerance. We call such concepts dual. Fast or slow, dirty or clean, theist or atheist … the one implies the existence of the other. And so we invented good and evil.
In any dual mind, there is ‘us’, and ‘the others’.
Whatever gives ‘us’ more power and control is called good.
Whatever gives ‘us’ less power and control is called evil.
How large and encompassing ‘us’ is, depends on the development of love/compassion in the individual and the society she belongs to. For a narcissist, someone with the emotional intelligence of a 3 year old, ‘us’ = me. For a conformist ‘us’ means my nation and all those therein or my religion and all its members. And one could perhaps say that for a humanist all humanity = ‘us’. In extenso, some individuals count ‘us’ as all living beings on earth. They shouldn’t have a tag, and if they do, I forgot about it. They don’t exclude, and any tag excludes and opposes and divides.
So, if you really love life, being neither attached to, nor detached from, anything, and you feel love and compassion for every being, fearless but respectful, you are well one the way of non-duality. If you combine this non-duality with a fully realized knowledge of the nature of mind and self, you might find yourself enlightened sooner or later – but then it doesn’t matter any more.