The Power of Detachment ... the art of letting go
I guess the reason I have been thinking of detachment lately is because of the emotion driven society that we are witnessing around us this year especially. When emotion is our main driver, decision making becomes reactive instead of proactive. So many people are stressed, angry and fearful with what is happening in the world today, whether it be politics, economics, terrorism, or natural disasters which can bring on mental and physical pain and suffering.
So, why detachment, and what is it? In short, detachment is experiencing our feelings and emotions in the moment without allowing them to control us. It is being able to step back and observe situations objectively, and then acting on inspiration or intuition instead of emotion. Detachment allows us to let go and accept what we cannot change which brings personal liberty. As we try to fight against what we cannot change, then what we are resisting will continue to persist as we give it energy and importance (law of vibration/attraction). Worrying and feeling fearful, for example, is a form of praying for that which we do not want. A far more effective and more calming approach is to consciously offer no resistance while focusing on what we DO want. I explain some of these energy laws in greater detail in my book. Most suffering is caused by non-acceptance of what is. It may be a thought, a feeling, an emotion or a situation. We suffer when we want things to be different from how they are. Most of the time, it is NOT the experience itself that causes us pain and suffering, rather the resistance TO the experience... the non acceptance.
How does acceptance bring liberty? By accepting, we are letting go, freeing ourselves from emotional bondage. We learn to detach from others choices, understanding that their life lessons are not ours to manipulate. Detachment allows us to be in the world but not of it. True detachment is not a separation from life, but the absolute freedom within yourself to explore living with joy and ease. It allows you and others the freedom to be who they are without forcing solutions or manipulating outcomes, thereby, allowing solutions to spontaneously emerge.
To give an illustration on how attachment limits us and how letting go gives us wings of freedom, let's look at the caterpillar and butterfly. As we know, the caterpillar is attached to the earth... it cannot fly yet. As it moves from leaf to leaf, it devours. Is it experiencing life? Yes. Now let's look at the butterfly in all its beauty and freedom of flight. Does it experience life? Yes... perhaps we can say that the butterfly experiences life more perfectly or more abundantly. Instead of taking and devouring, the butterfly adds to the earth by pollenating numerous flowers as it flutters along, allowing plants to reproduce. We, too, are in a better place mentally, physically, and spiritually to contribute to others around us as we learn to let go of emotional drama which only diminishes our power and freedom.
Perhaps I will go further and say that the way to acquire anything in this universe is to relinquish our attachment to it. This does not mean that we give up on goal setting or pursuing our passions, but rather that we release our emotional attachment to it and the way in which our request or intention will materialize. Example... Do you have an emotional love/hate relationship with money? "For the love of money is the root of all evil" - 1 Timothy 6:10. Try taking the emotion out of money, and see what happens. Set a realistic financial intention, believe that it has been taken care of, then act on inspirations that come, and you might be surprised at what shows up. The more you worry about money or strive to have it, that same negative needy energy will actually repel it.
When we do not judge one potential end result as being greater than another, our intention has a greater chance of being realized. Believe it or not, our ego does not necessarily know what is best for us. Ask, believe, act on inspirations, then trust the process... that whatever turns out will be what is best for us... Mark 11:24
Perhaps I should give a physical example of how trusting the process worked for me. My son called me in frustration one day from university in Montreal. He had been trying for two months to get into a specific Fall class which was required for the next Spring term in Hong Kong. He kept hitting road blocks and was feeling more frustrated. The class was full and with a waiting list. So, I gave it a shot. I was detached emotionally from this issue. I found a quiet moment, set the intention that he get into that specific class, believed that it was taken care of, and then I went on with my day. He called me later that afternoon in amazement. He was accepted! Was he surprised? Yes and no. Was I surprised? I was only surprised that it happened so quick. He had been stuck with emotional negative energy, so he was repelling the very thing he was trying to attract. As long as he was emotionally frustrated and not detached from the outcome, he was in no position to change the situation.
When we learn to set intentions with detachment, magical things begin to happen for us. If something still does not work out, then close that door with acceptance and move on into another open door.
Attachment is based on fear and insecurity. I need this person to do this or be this.... I need this to happen.... I must have that.... I need that job.... I need more money... etc. The search for security indicates an attachment to our known past experiences and past conditioning. When we relinquish emotion of the known, we open ourselves up to unlimited possibilities, inviting creativity and inspiration. Many of us look for happiness and security outside ourselves or in taking up a cause. When we truly understand that our divine team knows best and that all the answers are within us, we begin to understand that we do not need anything outside of ourselves to make us happy. We know that whatever is on the outside that brings us happiness has the same potential to bring us pain if taken away. The only way of escaping this dilemma is to become detached.
Detachment is not a new phenomenon. Let's take a look at James 4:2-3....
"Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts."
Why were these people not receiving what they desired? They did not ask. Or, if they did ask, emotional lust was attached to their request.
To summarize, here are a few suggestions on how to let go ....
1. Acceptance of the end result is the first step to detached involvement. Treat all potential outcomes as equal, understanding that what is best for you will show up. This means that whenever you face a problem, you stay grounded in the wisdom of the unknown, while expectantly waiting for a solution to come forward. When we let go of trying to manipulate a situation or force a solution, then something greater than us responds. Doors of opportunity will open up to something greater than we could ever have imagined. All we can do is marvel at the simplicity of the process.
2. Have a Plan B or C (an open plan). This way, we are not attached to one particular outcome, and our intention has a greater chance of actualizing. Be okay with any potential outcome.
3. Be an observer of your emotions. Learn to stand back and observe yourself, be okay with what you are feeling (do not try to resist lest it persist). If you are feeling angry, fearful in a situation, observe it from the third person. "Hmmm... I see Lori is getting a little heated under the collar, and her ears are starting to burn" (observe your physical reactions). The moment you observe yourself, then you are shedding light on the emotion. As you shed light, the darkness slowly fades. Any amount of light will always overcome darkness. You will literally feel the anger or fear gradually leave. Whenever you observe, you are being present and detached from emotional drama. When you are present, it is impossible to be thinking or feeling negatively, because you are in your natural BEING state where there is no thinking at all.
4. Be grateful. Gratitude is powerful! It will immediately shift your energy to a higher vibration where you will be in a better place to attract more positivity into your life.
Detachment from this world does not mean that you should own nothing, but that nothing should own you. We give away our power and freedom when we become attached to things, emotions, situations, and people. This does not mean detaching from a person we care about, but from the pain of negative involvement. Detachment gives us wings of freedom to choose our experiences, yet allows us to be present enough to feel deeply and to truly experience living more perfectly.