Understanding Detachment and the Meaning behind This ‘Spiritual’ Philosophy

Post by VanCityLifeCoach.com

“Attachment is the root of suffering.” – The Buddha

Detachment

I’ve been reading a lot about detachment, or non-attachment if you rather and like most, I’ve always believed the philosophy of detachment simply meant not letting material possessions have rule over your life. Which I guess is true, but teachings suggest that detachment roots much deeper than that. That one must detach oneself from people, emotions, thoughts and desires…basically, all the things we latch onto that give our lives meaning and purpose are none and void, if we wish to experience true freedom; liberation.

I was beginning to feel a little bewildered by the concept because it conflicted with a lot of my own ideas and beliefs. For one, I thoroughly enjoy connecting with people, so does this also mean that love keeps us from ever reaching this experience too?

After raising more questions and failing to firmly grasp the concept, I continued on with my day. It was only when I began my daily meditation that the concept re-entered my mind. As I sat there, cross-legged and awkwardly ready to achieve stillness and serenity, I was overcome by answers.

Detachment doesn’t necessarily mean living life a recluse and closing off connections and interactions to the world around us. Nor does it mean finding a spiritual place to live out the rest of our days trying to reach a higher level on consciousness. I began recognizing detachment as building a more mindful relationship with life, and how that journey towards mindfulness begins from within.

I always talk about identity and living life by the true values of who you are, by doing so you guide your life in a more fulfilled direction. I still believe this and it aligns with everything I’ve learned recently too.

Detachment is not about creating distance, I feel it’s more about understanding the true significance of life so that we better connect to it. For instance what do my possessions mean to me? Well if you think about it, they don’t actually mean anything. As a living organism; as a force of life, my possessions really have no value.

So feeling like I learned something amazing, I shared this conclusion with a friend of mine and he said “well what if you were on a life support machine, you’d need that wouldn’t you?” Ah…that got me thinking and the thought kept me up for a couple of nights as my mind was once again riddled.

A few days had passed and I was writing a letter to a client of mine. I was fully engaged in a state of flow and out of nowhere I found the response to my friend’s question: ‘Well why am I, or would I, be afraid to die?’ That one realization blew my understanding of attachment wide open, particularly how attachment causes us to fear/avoid one of life’s uncomplicated and inevitable outcomes. At that moment I felt completely present. I finally understood the significance of detachment and how it fits in with life’s most basic principles, right up there with death and breathing.

I started to look at my life much more closely, everything from brushing my teeth in the morning through to picking up my nephew for a cuddle after work. What does it all mean to life, not my life, just life in general? My nephew has only existed for several months and now I feel I can’t live without him…how and why does this impact my life so much? How and why does this rule my life? Each answer only raised these same questions.

The more I broke down my life and especially as I delved into my past, I noticed how little control and influence I had over it. I clearly wasn’t grasping what life meant at all. I was living life attached and as a result, I was indeed suffering: from my lack of confidence (controlled by what other people thought of me), to the fear of paving my own path (expectations from and responsibilities to those around me)…it all made complete sense.

I’m thinking that maybe we could all use a little less attachment in our lives, to step away and embrace actual life. Maybe I’ve got it completely lost in translation or just maybe, I’ve stumbled upon the beginning of something more definitive for myself.

I am also realizing that detachment has just as much, if not more to do with the physical realm than it does with the spiritual. I think detachment isn’t this glorious concept that I’ve always thought it to be, I think the true beauty and power behind this philosophy lies within its simplicity.

Either way, this recent experience has at the very least, taught me to keep my mind and my eyes wide open; to be more mindful and aware, and that outcome alone is priceless.

VanCity

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Are Your Motivations Man-made?

Thinker

Have you ever wondered how much of your life is man-made? Ever considered how much of your life is driven by man-made philosophies that guide your choices, mould your identity and overrun your emotions and natural desires?

Take the institution of marriage for example, it’s not necessarily an innate desire, we’re taught to long for this lawful union. Religion too, people submit lives, generations even, towards words written by man. Our careers maybe, are they driven by our thirst for power and purpose or do we slave away for the sake of climbing a social ladder?

I was on a date a few weeks ago and the girl I met was nice enough, she was pretty, very intelligent and I would say she was text-book perfect. Problem was, I found her very reserved, afraid to open up and let out what she truly wanted from life. It seemed she was conditioned to believe marriage was one of life’s natural wonders, so when I posed the question, “What if the entire concept of marriage didn’t exist, what would be your drive for companionship?” She stared at me with the blankest expression as if her mind had been formatted, I felt like I had insulted her.

It got me thinking about how many people in my life have very similar views, I don’t think a week goes by where a family member or a friend asks me about my marital status or how many digits occupy my bank account. Is it not enough to just accept that I’m happy, healthy and human, surrounded by a truck load of love and that I now live with a mountain sized passion for life? It’s like many cannot accept that I could arrive at this level of fulfillment without having followed certain ideologies.

Is it that difficult to comprehend, that we can drive ourselves simply by the honesty we carry in our emotions? That life is actually a lot simpler outside the flow of man-made principles.

I’m beginning to wonder if humanity has lost touch with the very things that make us human. How is anyone supposed to reach self-actualization and fulfilment, if we’re so conditioned to live life dictated by man-made values, popular movements and lean our desires towards marketable trends?

OK, maybe I’m heading off on a frustrated tangent here, but think about it, when was the last time you did something unstructured and genuinely honest? How much of your life is innately motivated?

Give yourself the opportunity to ponder this thought and tap into your true intent, before making your next life decision.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

Why Holding on to a Fantasy isn’t Necessarily a Bad Thing

Fantasy

My journey from living with insecurities to living with confidence and esteem has been long. It’s taken leaps and bounds overcoming challenges and threats to my identity but I made it through, partly because I held on to what once seemed like a fantasy.

7 years ago, if anyone had told me that I’d be living the life that I am today, and that I’d be living it happily, I’d liken such wisdom to fantasy. Although I yearned for it, no part of my being believed it. However entertaining the idea of how life could be offered me moments of escape where I could live out my ultimate dreams. The mere thought would stimulate emotion, enough emotion to encourage the spirit to act.

We grow up to be adults with plans and realistic tendencies that repress any thought deemed too fantastical. When living inside the ideologies of society we fail to see sense in exercising this natural ability.

The way I see it, what we have as human beings is meant to be embraced. Our imagination has no bounds, has no limits and has no restrictions. Our minds have the ability to give us whatever we want. Whether it’s that great love we desire to experience someday or the success we wish to encounter, we all have it in us to live it in the form of fantasy.

So what good is this fantasy? It’s not real, what use do we have for it? My answer is hope, and not that hope associated with religion. It’s the hope that inspires courage and determination and gives us the right to our identities free. It gives us the ability to dream and inspires us to locate opportunities to pull that dream into the realm of reality.

Life is fu*king tough, it’s not easy, but we do have something to turn to if we do need some comfort to cope. Our fantasies can be something we fuel our minds with to move forward and push through our struggles.

One thing about fantasy, and it’s sort of warping my mind even thinking about it, is that the imagination; the idea; this omnipresent force that exists within our minds allows us to feel. Feelings we cannot and must not deny.

The empathy we experience as we read a book or watch a movie. The connection we make with others that cannot be explained, and the raw expression of our own identities when there is no fear nor judgment to face. Our fantasies contribute so much to who we are and they give us so much to live for, yet we dismiss them because we’re taught to be realistic.

Today, I want to advise you that it’s OK to let your mind travel, it’s OK to enjoy the bliss and comfort that comes with being free to think and feel without the burden of reality. Hold on to your fantasies, let them fill your spirit with all the goodness that empowers you to become the best that you can be in your reality.

You have to be so much already; you may have so many hats to wear and roles to play in your everyday life. So long as you’re not harming anyone, explore your fantasy. Be free, be happy and don’t let the struggles of reality bring you down. This life I’m living now was once deemed a fantasy. Generations once enslaved also had a fantasy; lovers once deemed mentally ill also had a fantasy, and although there may be quite a bit of distance between the two realms, never let go of the possibility that one day that distance will decrease.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

A Message to My Peers: Fitting In Is A Scam

Fitting in

Recently I’ve been researching Sikhism, a religion I was born into but never really adopted. The lines between religion and culture were always blurred. Making the entire idea seem like one big contradiction.

My mother’s been trying to teach me the true meaning of what it means to be Sikh for years. Until now I was always too stubborn to listen. However, I’m finding stories of defending for what’s right, equality and breaking free from oppression inspiring, because of the much-needed change in the world we live in today.

The more I learned, her teachings didn’t feel religious. It felt more like a common sense guide on life and humanity.

I’m understanding more than ever, the requirement for equality, serving and contributing to society, awareness and the balance of body and mind. I know it sounds a bit hippie-ish, but when you filter out the crap messages that dominate our society, you realise how many of us are led away from our very own fulfilment. You realise how many people are frustrated with the way of the world right now, and how we contribute to it.

Reflection: A Quarter of a Century

February, 2013. I was approaching my 25th Birthday. Life was high and love came in abundance. I was on the verge of completing many goals I had set to achieve at this age.

As deadlines loomed, I was also closer to figuring out my passions. I was employed and earning money to live comfortably within my means, and I had secured my permanent residency abroad. For the first time, I felt like I was on track with a life I had set out to live.

However, I felt like I was on the verge of losing control over it.

After turning 25, it seemed the pressure was on to settle down and to start taking “life seriously.” To find a career and begin to live life just as the world expected me too. Ideologies became the framework for my life and all of a sudden everyone around me seemed to make my love life and my career a point of discussion.

It was all too overwhelming, it was like society was prepping me for adulthood. An adult life I never envisioned as a child.

Where I thought I’d gain control, the world wanted me to change and navigate the rest of my life for me. Before harnessing that control for myself, I shifted control and guidance away from my parents and almost handed it over to an unfulfilled, judgmental and overbearing society.

There I was, 25 years old, trying to fit into a world crippling under prejudice and inequality: socially, economically, culturally and politically.

As my innocence wore off I felt the colour of my skin illuminated. My gender had influence in society, my social status; from where I lived to how much I earned seemed to influence many outcomes too. My age, my personality, my aspirations, my hobbies and interests…It seemed that the world would pick apart my identity piece by piece. Until I became insecure enough and conformed to social norms, in order to “succeed” in an unequal world.

Behind curtain #1

It’s ironic; adulthood. I spent my younger years being told to dream big. That I can be anything I wanted to be. Believing it will happen one day if I worked hard enough and remained dedicated. Furthermore, I was taught how to be good and to act responsibly among society. Simply put, I was taught to be something and to discover my passions until I found fulfillment in life.

Sounds unrealistic right? Well that’s my point, I began believing that to.

I almost moulded myself into a society that shuns you for being different and dismisses you for having the guts to dream. Pretty much making you feel like an outsider for going against social norm. I realised that my decisions at this point in time we’re crucial to my well-being.

Do I work towards building a life of my own choosing? To realize my passions and figure out what I’m all about. Where fulfillment is mine to discover.

Or

Do I follow a template that will grant me access to an example/idea of fulfillment?

Either way I’ll be lead down to success, how much time and effort required will significantly differ, but which one would be worth it in the long run?

Regaining control

Over the last couple of years, I took my blogging and writing seriously and decided not to give up on my newly discovered passions. I decided that I want my own life.

As tough as it was going against the grain of society, I decided to stop taking promotions in a job I wasn’t comfortable going to. I decided to stop getting into relationships that offered nothing but physical affection or meaningless companionship. I wanted to work for myself and do something I enjoyed. I simply didn’t want to waste my life nor fill it with anything that I wasn’t fulfilled by.

However it does get difficult and sometimes, I get irritated because of the time it takes. I sometimes think about giving up writing altogether. Giving it all up in fact, coaching others, my book and turning my back on the aspirations of positively impacting society.

As I have the skills to earn more money in meaningless jobs available to me, I could have it much easier.

Then I remember, I only turned 25 in February 2013. The journey from then to now has been phenomenal. Even though I haven’t earned a penny yet from my writing, I’ve learned so much about the world and about life. By simply not adhering to societal pressure, I’ve grown immensely in confidence and in self-belief.

In the unlikely situation that all odds are truly against me and I don’t manage to fulfill my aspirations in this lifetime. Then my words will remain until they inspire someone who will. If I get hit by a car on my way out of this coffee shop, or if like my father, I develop an illness that rapidly prepares me for the inevitable. My life won’t have been lived in vain.

As I live or when I die, what lessons will my nieces and nephews learn from me? What will my peers appreciate about me? But most importantly, what would I have done in my life, or tried to do in my life that I was truly proud of and fulfilled by.

To gain fulfillment is to take back control

If you think of hate, judgement, fear and negativity, these problematic frustrations stem from a lack of fulfilment. Frustrations build up overtime, because we systematically close the doors on our natural motivations, to reach self-actualization. We keep that door firmly shut and perpetuate this broken society, because it’s easier to progress that way in this unequal world. To gain fulfillment is to take back control.  Regain control and you’ll no longer fear the world.

And for the first time in my life, I’m taking some lessons from my religion. Don’t get me wrong I still don’t believe in a deity judging us from above and you won’t catch me rocking a turban. Nor will you ever find me preaching any holy manuscript either.

I’m writing my own life’s story with some help from some quality teachings (that’s the biggest lesson we can all take from religion). I’m progressing in life by understanding what makes sense and disregarding anything outdated, pointless and defective.

F.Y.I. If anyone is searching for a God, then look within yourselves for any voice of hope, which tells you to do something with your life. Don’t sit there and pray or hope for a miracle. Take your life in your own hands and awaken your inner God.

Whether I’m facing an ounce of doubt or a crumb of judgment I’ll look back on the words that fill these pages. I’m glad I chose to discover my own purpose, an early adopter of a better world and a chance at true fulfillment.

Don’t blind yourself to what you truly want in life. F*** what anyone else thinks about you or your aspirations. Have the guts to go out into the world and do your own thing. Take a chance on yourself, don’t let society (or religion for that matter) dictate your actions. Don’t believe everything you’re told – you’re smarter than that, embrace research. Take from them the lessons you require but ultimately navigate your own path and live your own life. Lastly, make your life one to be lived.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

5 Questions I Asked Someone That Let Religion Hold Them Back…I’d write the 5th question on the front cover of all religious texts.

You'll be judged regardless of which path you choose, the best way to ease the pressure is to take a page from your beliefs and take a page from your dreams and allow them to guide one another.

You’ll be judged regardless of which path you choose, the best way to ease the pressure is to take a page from your beliefs and take a page from your dreams and allow them to guide one another.

Religion is a big part of society and I know some of my followers, as well as some very close friends of mine that cannot seem to shake off certain religious teachings that hold them back from what they truly want from life.

My motivation for this topic came from an email I received today, I was presented with the following question:

“…I love your blog, however how am I supposed to live my life the way I want to, if my religion beliefs suggest that everything I do is wrong?” – Anonymous

I spent so much time constructing my response to this email, I felt I’d share it publicly because I think it may help others that also struggle with this issue. I know it’s not my typical post but the essence is definitely there.

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for your email and your support. Religion is such a tough topic and having been brought up within a culture centered around religion, I can understand it’s burden. I have always refrained from writing about religion and its impact on my life, but your email inspired me to go for it.

I believe all anyone should truly learn from religion is how to be a good person, both to yourself and to others. I’ve read texts by different religions and despite the obvious differences the common theme is still centered around how to be good. I think that’s how I’ve always saw religion, I’ll live my life exactly how I choose, but I’ll always try to be good.

People are very quick to dismiss religion and on the other hand people are very quick to disagree with fact. However there are things that religion has probably taught you that you can’t learn in a classroom and things you learn in a classroom that dismiss things within your religion. For instance; I don’t think I have ever had a lesson in my school that taught me about equality like my religious teachings as a child definitely did.

I’m not devoted and there are a lot of religious teachings that I disagree with, but I can’t deny the positive impacts it has made on society either. I used to believe for the longest time that religion had nothing to offer as Science has advanced our understanding about the world and because religious extremists have completely blurred perception. Yet I look at Mother Theresa and the Dalai Lama  for example and other amazing people, that have done wonderful things because of their devotion. I feel the issues you face with religion lie within the final question I’ll ask you.

Here’s 5 questions you should think about that may help your perspective.

1.       Who or what are you living your life for?

Help yourself before helping others is a lesson I’ve been taught numerous times. It sounds selfish but it’s far from it. If I gave advice to help other people before figuring out my own goals first, it would put me in a compromising position. How would I be able to inspire others to aim for their dreams if I wasn’t aiming for mine?

Take a look at major philanthropists, the majority of them worked on their own lives and dreams, putting their own needs first before having any positive impact on anyone else’s. Until you’re living a satisfied and fulfilled life, you’re not going to be much help to any cause.

People will judge you regardless of which path you choose, the best way to ease the pressure is to take a page from your beliefs and take a page from your dreams and allow them to guide one another.

2.       “God-fearing” Was it God’s intention to have people fear him/her?

No one should live life with fear, it’s unfair.

I put this question to a Catholic friend of mine after watching a documentary called ‘Baby Bible Bashers’ the debate got a little heated but it’s a valid question. I’m pretty sure if there is a God out there his/her intention is not to have you fear him/her. It’s incredibly stupid for someone to embrace somebody they fear, they’ll forever struggle with controlling their own lives. (I came across this thought when reading about a woman who was getting battered by her husband – she used the term fear)

I feel God is how people characterize hope. Look to your hopes and see how you feel compared turning to your fears and uncertainties. Your hopes will carry you forward your fears will hold you back.

3.       Does your religion inspire you to do something or encourage you to do something?

Being inspired to act comes from the heart, being encouraged to act comes from the mind. Dwell on that for a moment and evaluate your teachings.

4.       If there is an afterlife, can you honestly tell others waiting for you on the other side that you lived a fulfilled life?

What impact did you have on the world? We’re you happy? We’re you free? Did you make use of free will and learn lessons from your mistakes?

I don’t believe in an afterlife but I always think of the stories and teachings I would pass onto my future kids one day and most of them would come from my own experiences. I won’t deny that I’ve learned a lot from my religion but it doesn’t control my life, it assists it.

 5.       How much of your religion is blurred by outdated cultural practices?

This question I can relate to 100%. For example: as a man, my culture suggests women are inferior but it was religion that taught me men and women are equal. I’m Sikh and when I date a girl that doesn’t belong to my caste, religion or even race it’s my culture that tends to have a problem with it, never my religion.

You know that saying “only God can judge me” and remember what I said earlier on how I reckon God represents your hope. Put the two together and you’ll realize who really is in charge of your life. It’s you all the way!

 

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach