Detachment is Freedom

Detachment is not that you should own nothing, but that nothing should own you.” Ali Ibn Ali Talib

It’s so hard for so many of us to let go. We cling to our things, people and even hopes to such an extent that we often feel tormented or even paralyzed by our need to be attached. When we demand that something be a certain way, it ends up having power over us in a way that we’re not even aware of. It owns our emotions and reactions and can cause us to feel almost insane in the way we hold on. For many of us detachment and letting go means giving up – but really it has nothing to do with giving up our goals or desires. Detachment means letting go of our attachment to the outcome. It means letting go of the emotions that own us and deciding that you no longer have to be run by them. It also means that we get comfortable with the unknown – and instead of always having to be in control of tomorrow – we learn to trust the universe to open up the door to the exact possibilities we’ll need to get to our dreams. And although detachment isn’t always easy, it’s the key to gaining real power over how we live. Imagine how many hours we spend trying to control our spouse or our children’s lives – thinking that if we only do enough – we (or they) will avoid painful discomfort. Detachment though, helps us stop and see if what we’re chasing even makes sense – it allows us to see multiple outcomes without caring which one is the “right” one. It breeds trust because we know that with each option will come something spectacular – and if not, our circumstances will at least contain grains of wisdom that will carry us through to the next phase. So, if today you’ve been looking for ways to find more ease, peace or simply a break from the constant conversation in your mind, begin with simply detaching and letting go.

Weekly Path to Peace: Detach and find freedom. 

  • Where are you attachments running your life? Do you spend hours trying to control your life or the people who fill it? Do you worry about every one of life’s turns? Or are you consistently hoping or wishing someone might suddenly be different? Look to all of the attachments to people, stuff, or even the future, that currently have power over your emotions. Spend time writing all of them down.
  • This week practice detachment. When you catch yourself hoping or wishing for a certain outcome – or feeling paralyzed by fear that you might lose someone or something, practice letting go of what you think should happen. Let go of words like my or mine and should or “have to”. When you hear yourself say those things, gently remind yourself that the possibility lies not in those words, but in the opportunity of the unknown.

As you begin this week, rate your level of happiness, self-esteem and self-confidence on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not satisfied and 10 being very satisfied. Notice where you are Sunday evening after you do this week’s peace practice to see if there is a change.