During the past years I have become increasingly interested in the incredibly difficult, although possible, practice of detachment, common in Buddhism. Wikipedia defines detachment as: a state in which a person overcomes his or her overwhelming desire for things, people or concepts of the world and thus attains a heightened perspective. Besides Buddhism, it is also known to be an important pilar of many spiritual philosophies such as the Bahá’í Faith, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Jainism, Kabbalah and Taoism- which mostly view attachment as an obstacle to living a fulfilled and happy life.
We must renunciate to this so-called attachment that can be found in relationships with other people, material objects, feelings, obsessions, traumas… This is what we have been taught, but up to what point is this non-attachment practice feasible?
As humans it is evident we are not islands, nor can we survive without any contact or embrace from other living beings. If you love something or feel interested in an energy or a certain chemistry, it is more than logical to become attracted to it. Nonetheless, becoming extremely attached to people or objects is rarely a healthy trait that will lead to happiness. According to Zen Buddhist philosophy: ATTACHMENT is the origin, the root of suffering; hence it is the cause of suffering. Jainism, another religion which I learned about upon a trip to India in 2008, believes that in order to achieve a hightened state of mind and soul, monks (both male and female) must observe and practice these five vows:
1. Non-violence – Ahimsa
2. Truth – Satya
3. Non-stealing – Achaurya or Asteya
4. Celibacy/Chastity – Brahmacharya
5. Non-attachment/Non-possession – Aparigraha
Non-attachment / Non-possession (Aparigraha):
Jainism believes that the more worldly wealth a person possesses,
the more he is likely to commit sin to acquire the possession, and
in a long run he may be more unhappy. The worldly wealth creates
attachments which will continuously result in greed, jealousy,
selfishness, ego, hatred, violence, etc.
Attachments to worldly objects results in the bondage to the
cycle of birth and death. Therefore, one who desires of spiritual
liberation should withdraw from all attachments to pleasing
objects of all the five senses.
Detachment seems a pretty simple practice when applied solely to material possesions and money, but what about relationships? Well, what about we find a middle ground and begin by accepting the fate of relationships. People enter and exit our life for a purpose, and when the deadline has arrived, it is only healthy and natural to let go. What has come, has come for a reason, and must consequently move on. If two chemistries are not fundamentally harmonious it is definetely time to LET GO. This is the Natural Order of the Universe. Have you learned from your relationship? This is what’s important. Focus on the positive outcome of it all and practice letting go of the harsh feelings, the regret, the sorrow… Leave in your heart only what’s really worthwhile.
Also, I would like to leave you guys with another so-called Buddhist lesson that greatly aids in this process, and in our everyday lives: Non-doing (acceptance of the present moment). Because things are what they are: only perfect.
Non-doing is, above all, an attitude of mind. It’s a wish. It’s a decision to leave everything alone and see what goes on, see what happens. Your breathing and your circulation and your postural mechanisms are all working and taking over. The organism is functioning in its automatic way, and you are doing nothing.
If you’re going to succeed in doing nothing, you must exercise control over your thinking processes. You must really wish to do nothing. If you’re thinking anxious, worried thoughts, if you’re thinking exciting thoughts that are irrelevant to the situation at hand, you stir up responses in your body that are not consistent with doing nothing. It’s not a matter of just not moving–that can lead to fixing or freezing–it’s a matter of really leaving yourself alone and letting everything just happen and take over.
Non-doing and detachment are two practices that require plenty of discipline and self-love. Like most other things in life, it isn’t some-thing that you can achieve by simply wishing to do so, by just thinking, ‘Well, I will now leave myself alone and not do anything.’ Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out like that. The whole process requires a lot of practice, and a lot of observation.
Therefore, may we begin today with letting go of things that have left us and accepting the present moment as it is… Harmonious and Perfect.