Detachment

Have you ever really, really wanted something?  Maybe it was a possession, or a job, or a relationship, or something to turn out just the way you wanted it to.   I don’t know about you, but I was taught that if you want something, you had to work hard at it, try really hard.  And if you didn’t get what you wanted, you had to work more and try even harder.  I guess that’s the way parents, teachers and other adults kept us moving and motivated.   We went scurrying about like little ants trying to make things happen.  Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn’t.  Somehow, no one spent a lot of time talking about the role that other people and their needs and wants, uncontrollable and unforeseen circumstances, fate, and God played in these scenarios.

Now with technology and all the stuff we know and the rate at which we are discovering new things, it’s easy to be led into a sense that we can be in control.  We can make stuff happen and get what we want, we tell ourselves. 

In yoga, there is a concept called “detachment.”  If you do an internet search on detachment, you’ll find a lot written about this idea.  But let me tell you what it means to me.   Detachment happens when I can pull back from this drive to make things happen a certain way and let things unfold.  I still care; I still work towards a goal.  But for me, detachment means I can let go of a particular outcome, so if it doesn’t work out exactly the way I want it to, I can move on.  This is a huge mindshift for me.  It’s not apathy or laziness.   It’s not about letting go grudgingly, or just paying the idea lip service, but truly letting go or detaching.  Sounds simple, but in practice, it’s so, so difficult.  

Recently, I’ve been working on detachment – trying hard to not try so hard to make things go certain ways.   I’ve had glimmers of what that feels like, just a few brushes with detachment with a long way to go.  But … what a difference detaching can make!  It makes it easier to operate in the world, to think more clearly and focus.  It opens up other possibilities because I’m not stuck in one-track thinking. 

But the most important thing detachment brings to me is peace.  And who doesn’t really, really want that?

©Lynn Wyvill 2011

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