There is a principle in yoga, which is referred to as detachment. This principle also exists in all major religions in the form of surrender to a higher being.
I had first read about the concept of detachment in A Course in Miracles years back. When I got to the passage explaining detachment, I was distraught and immediately stopped reading. My initial reaction was that if we are detached from our lives, our loved ones, our jobs, and our material goods, it’s as if we don’t care. In my naive view, I saw detachment as apathy. If you ever meet me, you will know that I’m the least apathetic person on the planet. I care about everything and everyone.
At times when we shut down emotionally because we are hurt. We detach ourselves from the situation or we declare that we are detaching. In reality, this is not detachment at all. By putting a barrier between yourself, an emotional situation and your own emotions, you are actually attaching even more to the situation because you are creating a deception with an attempt to feel the hurt less. However, when the feelings of the situation resurface or another related event happens, you will see this exaggerated attachment by your own negative reaction.
Detachment, in the yoga sense, is about letting go of control. In Christian circles, the phrase is letting go and letting God. We tend to go through life orchestrating events, planning, goal setting, working, and playing and we have this concept that we are in total control. There is a fallacy in this belief because if you are in control and I am in control and we are friends, then, who is really in control, you or me?
Many of us also believe the cause and effect of things to a fault. You may think, “O.K., if I’m nice to this person and treat him kindly, then eventually he will turn around and be kind back.” This may or may not be true. But if you adhere to the belief that he will, in fact, be kind in return, and he isn’t, you are left disappointed, upset and discouraged. Yet, if you approach this same situation with detachment, you might say, “I will treat him with kindness because that is the core essence of who I am. He may not return to me with kindness, but that is no matter because I can’t really control the outcome.” With this approach, there is no disappointment or sad feelings, only happiness because you know you are doing what is right regardless of the outcome.
Detachment is also synonymous with surrender. We don’t always see the grander picture at work. If you believe in a higher being, your higher power is orchestrating events and situations beyond your wildest dreams. And if you don’t believe in a higher power, know that universal energy or Mother nature is keeping the planets aligned and the seasons on time. Can you do that by yourself?
Sometimes when I think I’ve got it all figured out, God surprises me. Oh, yeah, I would have to say, this happens most of the time.
When you detach, you can sit back and enjoy the show. Have you ever seen the person “running the show”? That person is often harried, stressed, frazzled and downright unhappy.
Practicing detachment is difficult for most people. I have been embracing this concept for over seven years and it still eludes me. But when you do, you will find more enjoyment out of life. You will live more fully in the present moment. You will stop worrying about the future. Because you are being taken care of. Do what you can do and then let God, spirit, mother nature or the universe do the rest.
Wishing you peace, happiness and love.