Although easier said than done, practicing detachment is the key to preventing disappointment and ending the emotional battle between us and the universe.

Before learning the art of detachment, we must first understand what it means to be attached. We’re all guilty of attachment; it’s a normal human emotion. We easily get attached to people; boyfriends, girlfriends, best friends, and parents, for example. We get attached to money, status, our self-image, our beauty, our youth. We even get attached to our expectations of the future.

We live as if these people, objects and notions are permanent fixtures in our lives and our own stability depends on them.

What we fail to realize is that all of these entities are impermanent. They go away at some point or another. Relationships end, money’s spent, youth fades. If we attach ourselves to the ephemeral, we set ourselves up for heartache, confusion, and disappointment when things don’t go as planned.

Detachment, on the other hand, is the art of realizing that everything is impermanent. It is a continual, never-ending practice of relinquishing attachment to a false sense of security and the deceptive promise of everlasting happiness. It is the art of understanding the nature of the universe and learning to live in its flow, rather than continuously fighting against it.

Once we learn how to practice detachment, we can move beyond what feels safe or familiar and open ourselves to the unknown. Without rigid expectations of the future we’re able to hold space for life’s infinite potential.

With detachment in practice, we know that life will present its problems. But we also know with certainty that within every problem there is an opportunity. We’re able to get through potentially life-shattering breakups and losses knowing that some day we’ll look back at them with gratitude, as without these obstacles some great moment or opportunity never would have manifested.

Detachment is an extremely powerful practice. But it’s one that comes with self-work and a desire to evolve. It’s a daily commitment to living in the present and relinquishing rigid attachment to the future.

In his book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Deepak Chopra suggests that we embrace the following attitude to teach us the art of detachment:

“Today I will commit myself to detachment. I will allow myself and those around me the freedom to be as they are. I will not rigidly impose my idea of how things should be. I will not force solutions on problems, thereby creating new problems. I will participate in everything with detached involvement.” (p. 91)

Note the phrase “detached involvement”. Detachment is not the same as disconnecting, as some people fear. When you practice detachment you are still able to love, to work toward goals, and to enjoy life’s pleasures. You are still connected to life’s pulse but you appreciate and accept its impermanence.

Embrace detachment and you will find harmony with the ways of the universe; now and anytime life presents you with a “problem”. You’ll come to see that problems are not reason for disappointment, but opportunities in disguise.

Reference: Chopra, Deepak. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. Amber-Allen Publishing New World Library, 1994.

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