Some of you may already be acquainted with the idea of “non-attachment,” but to many, it remains a very confusing concept. In short, non-attachment is a process through which people become less attached to their life as they wish it to be. Another word for non-attachment is detachment.
Now before you consider me a cold, soul-less witch, allow me to explain a little further. Non-attachment doesn’t insist you stop loving people, or withdraw yourself from the people, places, and things that you love. Rather, it is a process whereby you come to terms with the fact that life is short and unpredictable. Because of the fleeting nature of life, you seek to cling less tightly to your own wishes and desires for yourself and your life. Here is an example:
A person who is practicing non-attachment will enter a job interview differently than a person who is not. Likely, both candidates will prepare as much as they can for an interview, and perform in the interview to the best of their ability. However, the detached person will realize that all they can do is their best, and recognize that whether or not they get the job, they can accept the outcome without anger, frustration or sadness, acknowledging “it is what it is.” On the contrary, the other candidate may be more likely to berate themselves or the interviewer (at least internally) because their desired outcome did not occur. They were more likely to have been seeking a “perfect” result and have a certain expectation for what should happen.
The benefits of practicing non-attachment are similar to those of practicing mindfulness. Non-attachment helps people recognize that there is SO little that we can control, and when we accept that life is brief and ever-changing, we can reduce our suffering.
I’d like to share a few quotes about non-attachment to hopefully give you a clearer picture of how it applies to daily life.
We all know Yoda is no dummy (also I just saw Rogue One last weekend and though he wasn’t in it, I couldn’t resist including this quote). He’s got a valid point here: when we can hold the things we love with a looser grip (not because we love them less, but because we realize just how loose our grip actually IS), we find peace increases and anxiety decreases.
If you are a person of faith, it is helpful to remember that while we have plans for our days, weeks, months, years and lives, God has a plan far bigger and better than our own. When we submit our outcomes to Him, we find peace that passes understanding.
The goal is to be fully IN our lives, experiencing every joy and sorrow fully, as much in the present moment as we can be. The goal is also to detach from expectation of what SHOULD be, and attach more fully to what IS.
If you have questions about non-attachment or simply want to share your experience with it, let me know in the comments! Wishing you all peace and joy today, Besties!