“Attachment is the source of all suffering.” Buddha
As autumn approaches, and deciduous trees begin to drop their leaves creating a carpet of golds and browns, I have chosen a biggie for our word this week – Non-Attachment!
Reflecting on the word, for me it means being willing to release, and not to control or hold onto something/someone. It means not resisting, but allowing, and coming to an acceptance of what is.
Tolle maintains: “Non-resistance, non-judgement, and non-attachment are the three aspects of true freedom, and enlightened living.”
So what are we attached to? What do we want to keep control over?
(Perhaps you could reflect on whether any of these exist for you?)
“Love without attachment is the purest love because it isn’t about what others can give you because you’re empty. It is about what you can give others because you’re already full.” Yasmin Mogahed
What does attachment provide for us?
“You only lose what you cling to.” Buddha
What then would be available to us if we practised non-attachment?
As Yoda says: “Attachment leads to jealousy. The shadow of greed that is. Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.”
So what stops us from letting go of attachment?
Personally, I feel that on a deeper level, once we can release our fear of death (our attachment to Life) we are set free to LIVE FULLY, and not come from a place of fear, but instead surrendering to what might be – perhaps this is what FAITH is?
So how can we get better at non-attachment?
Firstly, be aware of where it has influence in our lives – be a witness to our own behaviour, and the motivations behind it where the attachments outlined above might be heightened.
Consciously set an intention to allow time to reflect and respond, rather than react, so that we are not feeding the attachment and reinforcing it, but making way for another outcome.
Practice consciously, mindfully, letting go – giving away – objects that have served their purpose, and that we have valued for a time.
The de-cluttering movement is really based on the principle of creating space to BE, through removing those things which we are attached to, and deferring making decisions about…worth exploring if you think it might be of value to you.
Non-attachment – to use the deciduous tree analogy – is like bringing our energy back into ourselves after letting go of what no longer serves us, strengthening our core – our trunk – drawing up nutrients through our roots – the depth of who we are, before we grow new branches and new leaves to reach back out into the world…
This is where a retreat, or time / space to reflect on our attachments can provide us with some perspective.
Breathing – we can use the breath to begin non-attachment, to let go – in fact it is a great first port of call – breath awareness. Being mindful of our breathing patterns can provide us with a clue to our level of attachment…if we are holding our breath, controlling the exhale, or breathing shallowly, there is a chance we are engaging in thoughts or behaviours that indicate we are attached, anxious or controlling the outcome.
Begin right now, by allowing the next exhale to be a complete ‘letting go’, an audible sigh…ahhhhhhhhhhh. Then take 2-3 more deep inhales, each time letting go with that same release. As you do this, you may wish to affirm, “As I breathe out, I willingly release that which no longer serves me.”
And so it is…your non-attachment journey is underway!
In the words of philosopher Jackson Kiddard: “Anything you can’t control is teaching you how to let go.”
I wish you all the best on your journey, and look forward to hearing from you about your thoughts on non-attachment!
As a part of my own spiritual and personal practice, I chose 52 words to reflect on over the course of a year.