“Attachment is the root of suffering.” – The Buddha
As I was meditating this morning, I was reflecting on the concepts of attachment and detachment. One of my meditation thoughts is “I am unattached to the outcome.”
Being unattached to the outcome of anything is sound advice to follow. It is also quite a challenge, but doable with practice. But I was thinking of another kind of detachment: detaching from that which I don’t want.
I believe that what we don’t want sticks to us if we let it, i.e., we place out thoughts and attention on it. If I want to lose 10 pounds and I am always thinking “these 10 pounds, these 10 pounds, how am I ever going to lose them?”, then it is almost like a form of attachment to the 10 pounds.
I am a recovering addict to chaos and drama. We always have the choice of how we will react in any given situation – we are in control even if it doesn’t seem like it at times. If someone attacks me with their words or tries to manipulate me, I have a choice of how I allow that person’s choices to influence me and how I feel. I can attach myself to their perception of me, with my need for approval, or I can simply detach from what they think of me. Lately, I have been doing a lot of detaching.
It is exhausting caring what other people think so much – believe me, I know. You come to a point where it is not that you just stop caring all together, but you can’t over-care anymore – it is just not worth it.
But it is not all about what other people think. It is also how we live our lives. We can form attachments to physical objects, and this can lead to excessive clutter and disorganized spaces that might make us feel mentally and emotionally disorganized. We can also become attached to habits and comfort zones, which can make it really difficult to make changes.
Besides being unattached to the outcome or that which we don’t want, we can also detach from whatever it is we don’t want by making another choice. I know this is oversimplifying complex problems, but simplifying can have a profound impact on the future state of things, if we let it.
What if what we chose not to do could have a major impact on our lives? What if doing nothing actually is doing something, by not doing the something that is causing a problem in the first place?
Take carbs. Just deleting (or dramatically reducing them – the bad ones) from a diet can have a significant impact on weight loss for many people. By detaching from carbs, a person could lose those 10 pounds without changing anything else over time and with discipline.
Another example is people-pleasing. Detaching from being a people pleaser (slowly) has given me the freedom of so much more time to do things that I felt I didn’t have time for not too long ago – even if that is just to relax! Letting go of the need to please is a form of detachment that can be extremely rewarding – much more than over-caring ever was.
Detaching from the things that aren’t serving us, our purpose, and our dreams is a piece of the much larger puzzle we put together on the journey to making things better. If nothing else, it creates the space needed for our creative ideas to grow. Just let it go, and see if the world ends…or maybe it gets just a smidgen better. Namaste.