While I was reading What It Looks Like by Marta Maranda, I came upon a few paragraphs about non-attachment that cleared my confusion.
Here’s what the author said,
…non-attachment doesn’t mean we should never have people or things in our lives. It is the “exaggerated seeking and clinging” that creates suffering. Most of our mental and physical energy is obsessively devoted to the object we desire. If we don’t have it, we will either do anything to get it or endlessly mourn its absence. If we have it, we live in constant fear of losing it.
Expectations play a large part in attachment. What we cling to is less about having possessions, relationships, and identities than about what we expect them to provide for us. And we expect all that we acquire to make us feel loved, appreciated, or important. It is the dysfunctional perception that is at the root of all attachment. “Whether it is an object or a person, we give it meanings and values that do not exist.
Non-attachment is not detachment. Detachment is a dysfunctional defense mechanism and pain management system that results in mental, emotional, or physical isolation. However, detachment doesn’t just block pain from one’s life, it blocks the flow of all energy, and eliminates any chance of healthy interaction with the people and circumstances that are essential to heal dysfunction. Rather, non-attachment is an act of compassion and healing. There is no conscious manipulation of choices and consequences out of fear. When we relinquish control and release our grasp, energy flows, allowing our lives to grow, change, and heal through all that comes and goes. (p. 333)