Yoga and the importance of detachment

People often ask me how I can live a limitless life. The answer is simple. Learning to detach is the secret. Detachment from energy, emotion and material things.

Detachment happens when you are totally self-sufficient. But do not mistake detachment for not caring. We can still care, and when we listen to our hearts, we find ourselves in a place of pure love.

Detachment takes practice.

Detachment is a duty or responsibility which, when practised, will teach you not to expect anything in return. 

What is attachment?

Attachment is when we depend on things or other people for our happiness. When we do this, if things do not go to the plan we expected (or got attached to), we have set ourselves up for disappointment, failure or pain.

To give a very simple example: if we like chocolate, when it is available we can eat it and enjoy it. However, if chocolate is not available then it will not affect us, spoil our day or put us in a bad mood. This is detachment.

We are all are conditioned by our past.

If in our past anything has been denied to us, then that thing becomes very attractive to us. We believe that thing will make us happy.

For example, if you always wanted to live in a big house (because as a child you lived in a small one) your conditioned ‘measure‘ of success would be to live in a big house, especially if you had been unhappy as a child. So, living in a big house becomes attractive because we never had it before and we pin our happiness on it.

We set (sometimes unattainable) goals and become attached to them. We believe all our prayers will be answered by that one thing we desire.

Becoming attached or obsessed with having something that you believe will bring you permanent happiness will only make you reckless, obsessed, muddled and it becomes your whole world. 

When we lose that thing – that which we have obsessed over – we believe that we have lost everything, that our world has ended. We can enter a spiral of fear, doubt and self-sabotage and are often unable to see past it. We are unable to make a long-term plan.

Our human mind has conditioned us to measure our success in ‘things’ that will make us happy.

When we strengthen our heart and our mind, through practices like mediation and breath work, we are able to gain clarity of thought by connecting to the heart and clearing the mind.

When we listen to the heart’s wisdom we look at life in totality instead of one aspect.

So why is detachment so important?

  • When you look at the bigger picture of life, whatever you do, you will do it gladly, because you are not focused on one tiny aspect. When we do this and decide what it is we want to do with our lives, we know what will make us happy and have a clear plan – otherwise we hit 40, have a mid-life crisis and wonder what went wrong.
  • When we have clarity of thought, we can decide the type of life we want, one that will make us happy, then we can plan and do our best.
  • The secret is that whilst making that plan, we should not get attached to the outcome and only focus on executing it.
  • If we can focus on executing our plan without receiving anything in return, then we have reached detachment.

When we achieve detachment – and don’t expect anything in return – then we have achieved true freedom and are living without limitation.

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