Q & A: Is it bad to be attached to something that is good?

My morning meditation consists of a qijong sitting practice. For twenty minutes, I sit cross-legged on a pillow, regulate my body, breathing, mind, qi, and spirit. I find this practice helps prepare me for my morning prayer.

The other day, my 7-year-old Siberian Husky-Malamute mix Happy marched up to me and poked me with his nose.

My mind became disturbed. "Go away, Happy. Can't you see I'm meditating?"

He sat down and front of me and pawed at me. I opened my eyes and looked at his big fury face. His eyes commanded me to pet him. At that moment, I realized that my practice was getting in the way of expressing love to my dog.

When something becomes attachment, it prevents us from experiencing love. Our preference and need for that thing--whatever it may be-- is more important than receiving, sharing, and expressing love in that moment. But love is the purpose of our being, and, paraphrasing St. Ignatius of Loyola, the things of this world are a means to achieve that end. When we confuse the means with the ends, we will suffer. So, labeling something as "good" or "bad" is not sufficient, we have to examine the extent to which that thing prevents us from loving God, others, and ourselves unconditionally. If it does, we have to be willing to put it aside.

That morning, petting Happy became my morning meditation, and as I did, I felt God's love flow through me. And that is the goal of the spiritual life.