Although easier said than done these days, practising non-attachment is key to preventing despair and ending the emotional battle between ourselves and the outside world.
But before learning the art of non-attachment, we must first understand what it means to be attached.
Non-attachment is not the same as disconnecting, as some people fear. When you practice non-attachment, you still love, work toward goals and enjoy life's pleasures. You are still connected to life's pulse in every way but you appreciate and accept life’s impermanence without suffocating it.
We're all guilty of attachment; it's a normal human emotion. We become easily attached to people (significant others, best friends and parents, for example). We become attached to money, status, self-image, beauty and youth. We even become attached to our expectations of the future (what will happen to us and our planet?).
What we fail to realise is that all of these entities are impermanent. They go away at some point or another. Relationships end, money is spent and youth fades. If we attach ourselves to anything temporary or transient, we set ourselves up for heartache, confusion and disappointment when things don't go as planned.
If you attach your self-identity to a vehicle and then the vehicle drives away, you will lose yourself. Vehicles change, but what doesn’t change is the essence of who you are.
That's why non-attachment is so critical, especially during challenging times like these.
Non-attachment is the art of realising that everything is impermanent. It is a continual, never-ending practice of relinquishing attachment and the false sense of security it brings with it. Non-attachment is the art of understanding the nature of the universe and learning to live within its flow, without having a death grip on it.
Once we learn how to practice non-attachment, we can move beyond what feels safe or familiar and open ourselves to the great unknown. Without rigid expectations of the future, we're able to hold space for life's infinite potential, infinite possibilities.
We know that life will present its problems, that won’t change. But we also know that within every problem there is an opportunity. We're able to get through potentially life-shattering events, knowing that someday we'll look back at them with gratitude.
Non-attachment is an extremely powerful practice. But it's one that comes from a desire to evolve. It's a daily commitment to living in the present and relinquishing rigid attachment to the future.
The future of humankind can feel frightening, especially as we enter the era of a worldwide pandemic. Yet there's never been a more important time to let go of the need to control the uncontrollable.
Embrace detachment and you will find harmony with the ways of the universe, now and anytime life presents you with a serious obstacle. You'll come to see that problems, even ones as serious as this global illness, are not reasons for despair but opportunities in disguise.