How To Stop Being Attached To Situations That No Longer Serve You

Published on: May 21, 2017

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Stop Trying To Control Your World

“Desire nothing, and you’re content with everything. Pursue things, and you’re thwarted at every turn.” — Ryokan 

Our attachments to the past can be harmful and why we must release our hold on yesterday’s concerns, if we seek contentment. It’s a given that most people want to experience happiness and joy. There are many ways to achieve it, and while some attain it, others don’t. However, it is no less a central desire to seek fulfilment in our everyday life.

We want happiness to fill the cup when pain overflows. Yet the irony is, we experience more pain and suffering than joy allows. We attach our desires to people and situations, holding on tighter than we should. We stress about matters that impose upon our happiness and become discouraged. Things don’t always go as planned. People let us down. The road ahead gets bumpy.

Detachment means to disassociate yourself from intended outcomes. It requires letting go of fixed ideas on how life should be. If you commit yourself to getting what you want, you set yourself up for pain. For example, if you base your day on your partner’s mood or getting the next promotion at work, you allow outward conditions to dictate your feelings. You are trying to control your world instead of trusting the process of life. 

The Art of Detachment

“He who would be serene and pure needs but one thing, detachment.” — Meister Eckhart

It requires practice, though it is possible to let go of attachments that no longer serve you. You might ruminate on the past while holding on to things that don’t matter anymore. What if you were to enjoy the richness of the present moment instead? Make it a point to let go of anything that’s not for your highest good, especially expectations.

Do you often worry about the future? Do you base your feelings on whether you are moving forward in life? Either way, make it a priority to let go of attachments by treasuring the power of each moment. Move beyond your negative thoughts and allow life to be exactly as it is. Letting go is grounded in the wakefulness of the present moment, being perfect as it is. Whilst you expect things to be a certain way, detachment means to let go of these thoughts.

Expectations set you up for disappointment. Whilst it’s normal to receive respect and love from others, sometimes people don’t return the respect or love you deserve. Happiness means acknowledging this, so you avoid hanging your hopes on people fulfilling your emotional needs.

If we are attached to life being a particular way, we are assured of being hurt when things do not follow as expected. The solution, you ask? Let go. Do you want to work toward your goals and dreams while letting go of outcomes? Focus on pursuing what is meaningful and give it your undivided attention.

People pursue what they consider will make them happy, yet remain miserable now. To work towards a prosperous future, flow with the currents of life instead of being on a roller coaster ride of difficulties. Steady is the way.

Fulfilment Comes From Within

“To become free of attachment means to break the link identifying you with your desires. The desires continue: They are part of the dance of nature. But a renunciate no longer thinks that he is his desires.” — Ram Dass 

As much as we want to believe that success and happiness happen ‘out there’—it simply isn’t true. Happiness and fulfilment emerge from within. Ask those who are content what their secret is and many will tell you, they learned to simplify life and let go of attachments. They loosened their grip and allowed life to serve them. They are grateful for the pleasant and unpleasant moments because both experiences contain the seeds of opportunity for growth.

They are unattached to how life should develop and trust every experience serves their highest good. Think back to a time you released your attachments to something. Maybe it was resentment or holding on to a particular point of view. As you let go, you no doubt felt relief and moved on.

That is the significance of letting go. You let go to move forward, instead of dragging the past behind with you. So release your hold on tomorrow. Don’t blemish the present moment with attachments of how it should be.

If you are anxious about a particular matter, simply let it go. Drop it as though I were handing you a hot piece of coal. Keep letting go until you get to a place of nothingness and have released all attachments and suffering. Only then will you know true peace and joy in its entirety.

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