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My practice of detachment - Results

"Non-attachment is so often misunderstood" - this has been repeated by many of my yoga teachers. Very often we believe that the answer to a problem, is going for the extreme opposite of that problem. From one extreme to another, we dance in this perception of only black and white, unable to see that these colours actually create a palette of greys. We seem to think of detachment as the idea that we must leave what we love and not care about anything - leave the family, don't have that ice cream we love, refuse all desires of money or success and essentially don't own anything, don’t feel anything and live a poor life without the care to accomplish more and care others.


This could not be more false! All of these things are important in life - the problem are not desires, caring or enjoyment but the blind attachment to these things, and false idea of what these things mean, represent or should give us.


What does it mean, being attached?

Attachment is a mental conditioning that causes pain and disappointment. It is created by false assumptions and the need of having something to make us feel a certain way. Forgetting about the simple truth that we create our own experience, and instead focusing on external objects, stimuli, people and events as means to give us the feeling of satisfaction or joy. Few examples of what attachment look like:


  • We create attachment, because this person used to make us feel a certain way and we expect it to continue forever. When this doesn't happen we feel sad or upset.

  • The attachment is created when we try this amazing food at this specific restaurant, and we loved it so much we want to go there again. But the next time it doesn't taste the same, it doesn't quite fill the craving we desired, so we feel disappointed.

  • We grow attachment by using our imagination, we expect to receive a certain result of our action - then if this expectation isn’t met we're not happy or even we feel unfairly treated.

Attachment is the problem, when if something doesn't happen the way we want to, we grow resentful and it affects our inner state of being and even our relationships or the whole day.


What it doesn't mean:

  • No enjoyment/pleasure

  • No caring/loving

  • Leaving/abandoning/escaping


Let me tell you a story...


For quite a few years I wanted to go to Eden Project and The Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall. It seemed so surreal and amazing, I saw the photos and heard great story of the experience my friends had there. Last week we finally decided to drive 4 hours, to visit those places. With the plan to get there, visit both places, stay over night and come back home the next day. The only reason we drove there was to visit both places, there was nothing else we wanted to do there. So, we packed our bags and me, Nathan and Beni got in the car, ready for our weekend adventure.


4 hours later, we got to Eden Project car park around 1pm. It was a nice, warm day. The sun was shining and we felt great. We made our way towards the entrance, there was many cars parked, people already in the park. Few people getting out of their vehicles on the same mission as we - get to the Eden Project and experience indoor rainforest! Many people with their dogs, some with kids and prams. As we kept getting closer and closer, Beni began to panic. She started running away, pulling the lead... breathing heavily and acting in panic because of strangers and noises around us. We were faced with a decision - to either force it and maybe she will get through it, or we leave her in the car with open windows. It was a hot day, neither of those ideas seemed right. So despite our set plans, we chose not to go to Eden Project and move on to The Lost Gardens of Heligan, hoping the environment will be a bit more calm and Beni will be ok. We got there, but the same situation happened again. So, we drove to the hotel to check in and disregard our plans.


Now... let's link this situation with the practice of detachment.


The old me, would most likely react in few different ways:

  1. Feel sad and disappointed

  2. Angry at Beni, blaming her for this situation

  3. Felt like it was waste of time and money

  4. Or, combination of all those things


Neither of those feelings would benefit me in any way, and actually it would ruin the entire stay. Not only for me, but also for Nathan and even affect my relationship with Beni. It would then prove my idea and confirm it was the waste of time and Beni is to blame.


Instead, the practice of non-attachment allowed me to see the situation in a clear light. We moved on to do things we could, still enjoyed the stay to the capacity we could and didn't allow this expectation to ruin our day, time or relationships. Our mind knew it was not the end of the world - we can come here again, perhaps plan better and consider how Beni's needs can be taken care of. We can still do other things, and even though we didn't plan it and didn't know what to do, we figured it out in the light and enjoyable mood.


This is the power of non-attachment.


Life is filled with valuable lessons and tests - these situations don't go away - but we can learn to deal with them in a healthy way. We can train our mind to respond in a positive manner and create better reality no matter what challenges or obstacles we face. Life shows us what we still need to work on. If we don't pay attention, we just keep repeating the same mistakes, unhelpful patterns of behaviour and habitual ways of thinking.


So, how does one practice detachment?

Observe. Understand that everything is temporary. Everything will pass, the good will pass, the bad will pass. Understand that nothing is exactly the same each time and this is the nature of life, even if the same situation repeats itself it's never exactly the same. Today we think one way, tomorrow we might have different views or opinions of the same thing. Keep reminding yourself of this. Understand and accept that everything is exactly how it is supposed to be, it's a journey. Sometimes we get to do awesome things, sometimes we miss them. Sometimes we are in control, sometimes we are not in control. Sometimes we know exactly what to do, sometimes we have no clue. So simply observe, remind yourself it's ok, practice looking at the same situation from different perspectives, and don't take things personally. Quiet the mind using meditation, observation and gratitude.


Practice yoga in your life, not only on the mat. This is the way to live well.



The following day we managed to take Beni to The Lost Gardens of Heligan, before heading home. We found out some statues we expected to see there were never there. We are yet to visit Eden Project one day.


With love

Sylwia x

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