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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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