The Art of Detachment


I recently saw this great saying on a friend’s Facebook page. “Detachment is not that you should own nothing. But that nothing should own you.” – Ali ibn abi Talib

According to the Oxford Dictionary, “detachment” is the state of being objective or aloof. I think most of us forget the dual nature of the definition and only associate aloof, dispassion, and disinterest with the word. We lose sight of the fact that detachment also means objectivity and open-mindedness.

Healthy detachment is a key factor to happiness. And also a key factor to success.

When the ego is involved, detachment is difficult to practice. However, successful adoption of this principle leads to overcoming your attachment to desire for things, people, or concepts and in turn attain a heighted perspective of life.

Living in a state of attachment causes misery. When we are attached we become controlling and not wanting to let go of things that we feel validate us. This does nothing but create suffering – self-inflicted suffering (which, by the way, all suffering is).

While the art of detachment can be applied to just about every area of our life – material items, people, relationships, business, success, etc. I want to focus briefly on detachment from outcomes. As a self-professed “control freak”, this is one that I struggle with the most.

The Law of Conscious detachment says that in order to manifest or create anything, we must release our attachment to it and how it is to come about. It’s beautiful when you think about it. It allows us to be free from concerning ourselves with certain outcomes and the way things are supposed to happen. Instead it opens us up to the perfect solutions that emerge. It takes us out of acting from insecurity into acting in faith.

When we attach ourselves to outcomes, to people, and to controlling situations, we move into a space of fear, insecurity, doubt, and other negative emotional states. When we attach to our idea of how things need to happen we just end up attracting what we don’t want because that is where our limited mind is centered – on how things aren’t unfolding the way we think they should. Attachment is a heavy energy that blocks God from helping us achieve our goals. Attachment takes us out of peace, wisdom, and faith.

So, how do all of us “control freaks” begin to practice the art of detachment? The first step is to become aware of where in your life you are attached to outcomes. Take a few minutes to write them down and notice the behaviors you use that keep you attached. Are you trying to force a step by step plan for your goals? Are you rushing a process because you feel you should be further along? Are you pressuring people to act or respond in a certain way to help you get what you want?

Sometimes taking three steps back from a situation, taking a deep breath, and relaxing into your faith that it will happen, even if it doesn’t happen exactly the way you planned, allows you to refocus your time and energy. It releases the blockage that you’ve created by demanding it be done your way.

Become aware of what you are trying to control in your life where you are forcing things, and where you are attached. Letting these go and allowing them to happen in their own way will open you up to receiving what should happen and how it should happen. It is amazing the new opportunities that will present themselves and multitude of ways your goals can be accomplished when you become detached from the how’s and why’s of your what.


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