This is a difficult point to put into so few words, but a profound one I felt would be greatly beneficial to mention nonetheless.
To realize non-attachment doesn’t mean to abandon your friends and family and live alone for the rest of your life like a monk, never truly living again just so that you don’t become attached to these desires.
Non-attachment refers to living in a way that you exist in the natural flow of life and generally living a typical modern life, building a family, working, etc., while simultaneously not being attached to any of these things. It simply means to live in a way that you’ve become aware of and accepted the impermanence of all things in this life and live in a way that you’re ever aware of this fact.
It’s perfectly normal for a Zen student in Japan, once having completed his training, to actually de-robe and go “back into the world” so to speak. This is because, once they’ve reached this level of realization, they see the beauty in all things and are compelled to live fully absorbed in all the beauty and wonders of this life. From this point on, they can truly “live life to the fullest”, while not clinging to any of these things.
Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean that you stop feeling emotions. On the contrary, these emotions are welcomed and expected and fully experienced with mindfulness in the moment of their impact. But this is simply the natural course of things.
Once these emotions subside, though, and when we have no mental formations or obstructions to block our path, a natural healing process takes place that heals the wound and allows us to continue on living in peace and joy instead of dragging us down into darkness.
Strive to live free, fully aware of the wonders of life and in the very midst of all of those wonders, while not clinging to any of it. To do this is to realize the greatest joy life has to offer.
Peace and Love, Jim