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How to Achieve Detachment

First of all, I’d like to stress out that detachment is not a negative thing. Some people claim that attachment is needed for human survival and affection. “No man is an island”, as they say. But there is a difference in this. Yes, we cannot live alone and being in the company of others is a good thing. However thinking that you cannot live without the other is just not healthy.

We are all ‘whole’ individuals who are capable of living in a world; we are being provided with everything we need at the moment. We are born to this earth to be self-sufficient. Yes, in our earlier years when we are babies, we are taken care of by our parents, which is how God intended it to be. Going back to what I said earlier: “We are provided with everything that we need at the moment.”

Attachment on the other hand is resisting and rejecting the laws of the Universe. Attachment is telling yourself you cannot live without this certain person or a thing, which is why you want to possess it. You believe that because life is short, you want to have it all and own it all.

When you feel good at this moment and you want to attach yourself to it, you are resisting the laws of the Universe for bringing you more joyful moments. When you try to possess your partner, you are not allowing the other person to find their own happiness. When you are attached to the past, or to the future, you are not allowing yourself to live in the NOW, thus you violate the laws of the Universe.

There is such relief in letting yourself be free from your attachments, because you abide with the law of the Universe, and thus it blesses you with more than you could ever imagine, with such ease.

Steps in Becoming Detached:

1. Detachment from Experiences

You can do this by first accepting the moment as it is. Trust and believe that what is happening right NOW is enough. Redirect your thoughts when you notice that they veer toward attachment. Believe that change is what makes us evolve and grow as individuals and withstanding change will set you free. Enjoy your NOW fully and aim for the quality of the moment instead of quantity – this will free you from attaching yourself to the experience.

2. Detachment from People

Don’t let others have the authority of revealing your worthiness. Believe that you ARE worthy whether others tell you or not. Be a friend to yourself. Explore your own interests and do it alone sometimes. Don’t be someone who always needs others to push you. You have your own feet and hands.

Try to hold others lightly and not cling to them. Appreciate their presence but release your attachments to them. This can be applied even to romantic relationships. Understand that YOU ARE NOT SOMEONE’S OTHER HALF. Relationships take two whole persons. Believe that you won’t be miserable without the other person.

3. Detachment from the Past

Understand that the past has already happened and there is no way you can change it. Holding onto the past is based on fear. Try holding onto to LOVE instead, and focus on the things that you love right NOW. Create happiness with that.

Make your PRESENT MOMENT count so that you will break free from your fear and attachment to the past. When you talk about your past, try not to recall how bad it was. Make peace with whatever happened and see to it that those circumstances happened so this You, RIGHT NOW will emerge.

4. Detachment from Outcomes

Practice letting things be as they are and make peace with your NOW. You cannot find happiness in the future – it only happens in the present moment, and that is all you ever have: NOW. Try not to think that you NEED to know what your future will be like – because truly, nobody knows. The only thing you can do however is to believe that your future is hinged on how well you live TODAY.

5. Detachment from Emotions

If you are experiencing pain, understand that it is unavoidable. No matter how well we do in life, there will always be pain. But as the saying goes: Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. Acknowledge your emotions and express them – this is how you can transcend them after.

Another helpful thing to do when you are in pain is try to recall all the happy moments you had and appreciate them. Gratitude is the best exercise. Develop an Attitude of Gratitude and you will transform your life.

Detachment may be difficult, because we accepted the difficulty of attachments as a part of our lives. Even though we understand that it is already making our lives miserable, we still tend to hold on to our attachments because it’s what keeps all the drama alive. Yet, this is not healthy – neither to us, nor to others. Developing detachment is important so we can live in harmony with the people around us, and most importantly with ourselves.

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The Fine Art of Not Being Offended

“There is an ancient and well-kept secret to happiness which the Great Ones have known for centuries. They rarely talk about it, but they use it all the time, and it is fundamental to good mental health. This secret is called The Fine Art of Not Being Offended. In order to truly be a master of this art, one must be able to see that every statement, action and reaction of another human being is the sum result of their total life experience to date. In other words, the majority of people in our world say and do what they do from their own set of fears, conclusions, defenses and attempts to survive. Most of it, even when aimed directly at us, has nothing to do with us. Usually, it has more to do with all the other times, and in particular the first few times, that this person experienced a similar situation, usually when they were young.

The Fine Art of Not Being Offended

Yes, this is psychodynamic. But let’s face it, we live in a world where psychodynamics are what make the world go around. An individual who wishes to live successfully in the world as a spiritual person really needs to understand that psychology is as spiritual as prayer. In fact, the word psychology literally means the study of the soul.

All of that said, almost nothing is personal. Even with our closest loved ones, our beloved partners, our children and our friends. We are all swimming in the projections and filters of each other’s life experiences and often we are just the stand-ins, the chess pieces of life to which our loved ones have their own built-in reactions. This is not to dehumanize life or take away the intimacy from our relationships, but mainly for us to know that almost every time we get offended, we are actually just in a misunderstanding. A true embodiment of this idea actually allows for more intimacy and less suffering throughout all of our relationships. When we know that we are just the one who happens to be standing in the right place at the right psychodynamic time for someone to say or do what they are doing—we don’t have to take life personally. If it weren’t us, it would likely be someone else.

This frees us to be a little more detached from the reactions of people around us. How often do we react to a statement of another by being offended rather than seeing that the other might actually be hurting? In fact, every time we get offended, it is actually an opportunity to extend kindness to one who may be suffering—even if they themselves do not appear that way on the surface. All anger, all acting out, all harshness, all criticism, is in truth a form of suffering. When we provide no Velcro for it to stick, something changes in the world. We do not even have to say a thing. In fact, it is usually better not to say a thing. People who are suffering on the inside, but not showing it on the outside, are usually not keen on someone pointing out to them that they are suffering. We do not have to be our loved one’s therapist. We need only understand the situation and move on. In the least, we ourselves experience less suffering and at best, we have a chance to make the world a better place.

This is also not to be confused with allowing ourselves to be hurt, neglected or taken advantage of. True compassion does not allow harm to ourselves either. But when we know that nothing is personal, a magical thing happens. Many of the seeming abusers of the world start to leave our lives. Once we are conscious, so-called abuse can only happen if we believe what the other is saying. When we know nothing is personal, we also do not end up feeling abused. We can say, “Thank you for sharing,” and move on. We are not hooked by what another does or says, since we know it is not about us. When we know that our inherent worth is not determined by what another says, does or believes, we can take the world a little less seriously. And if necessary, we can just walk away without creating more misery for ourselves or having to convince the other person that we are good and worthy people.

The great challenge of our world is to live a life of contentment, regardless of what other people do, say, think or believe. The fine art of not being offended is one of the many skills for being a practical mystic. Though it may take a lifetime of practice, it is truly one of the best kept secrets for living a happy life.”

– Dr. Jodi Prinzivalli

On ‘Seva’ and Money being ‘Energy’

Lately, I’ve had conversations from my dearest wise friends about money being‘energy’. I have learned about this first from other teachers and motivational speakers but frankly, I didn’t understand what it meant. I just thought, ‘Ok, money is energy so it means I don’t have to work hard, money will keep coming when I have fun with what I do.’ Yet I just learned that there is a deeper concept on that.

Seva

Actually, I am not that into money matters. I am not after tons of money and it is not really my dream to become a billionaire. However, I always had resistance when it comes to money and work. I have noticed that most of the time, the ‘need for money’ comes before the money even arrives. So this makes it so difficult for me to deal with because I wasn’t even asking for lots of money. I only wanted to have it when I need it. That’s all, and why does the Universe don’t get that?

What I found out is that I was the one not getting it.

My teacher/friend from the U.S. is asking me to organize an event here for him – from scratch. I have to find 20 people to attend a retreat and raise $5,000 or more with nothing to start with. I told him I couldn’t do it because I don’t have the money to organize such event and I don’t know where to even get the 20 people who would pay for it.

He laughed at me and told me I need to expand the boundaries of money in my mind. Money is energy, he said. He told me that money comes from the selfless services I do for others – not just by loving what I do, but knowing in my heart and in my mind that my service helps others in any way, without asking anything in return.

He also told me that the reason why I have problems with money and work is because I ‘work for money’, not for the sake of giving service to others. Selfless service is called ‘Seva’ in Sanskrit. He told me that for all the work I do, I should do it through seva.

Take note, my friend is a meditation teacher and a yoga instructor living in the U.S. and he makes a living through selfless service. He said he is not teaching or instructing other people for money, or else he will never get money. Instead, he is focusing on helping others with their spiritual journeys, knowing in his heart and mind that his work will help others transform their lives and be better persons.

I also got an email last night from The Daily Love about money being energy, where Mastin Kipp wrote, “Instead of looking for what I could get, I started to look for what I could give. Instead of looking for how other people weren’t helping me, I just decided to help other people. And when it came to my clients, I focused on the outcome I wanted, instead of how tired I was, or what I needed.”

That is how we get what we want from the Universe. I’m not talking about the common desires that would lead to attachments; it is offering ‘seva’ to others. Whatever we do, we should think first of how it will help other people and how it may create good change in others.

So today, when I started work, I did it with this idea in mind. I am not working for money. I am working to help my boss grow his business, so he could live happily with his family. I also thought of the other people on our team that will benefit if I finish my work on time (because they won’t get paid unless I finish my task, and finish the project). I thought about how they would all feel happy when we finish one project after another, imagining in my mind how satisfactory it would make them feel. I felt better, more focused, more inspired and never got tired.

It really helps to understand that money is just energy. The amount of service, time and effort we selflessly give to others comes back to us in great abundance. Money may be a part of that, but we also get joy, love and respect. Really, it feels so much better to work for the sake of helping other people instead of just working to get money out of it.

And…I believe I’m gonna pull this event together – even from scratch. Why not? The Universe got my back. ♥

🙂

7 Little Things That Make Life Effortless

Take what you want from this list. I find these things work, but your mileage will vary.

Photo of me being playful 🙂

1. Do less. This is my productivity mantra, and it’s counterintuitive. I actually don’t believe in productivity, but instead believe in doing the important things. Do less, and you’ll force yourself to choose between what’s just busywork, and what really matters. Life then becomes effortless, as you accomplish big things while being less busy.

2. Having less is lighter. Start asking yourself if you really need everything you have, or if you just have it out of fear. Start to let go of what you have, so it doesn’t own you. And then, as you have less, you feel lighter. It’s wonderful.

3. Let the little things go. People who struggle often fight over little things. We obsess over things that don’t really matter. We create resistance instead of letting things glide off us. Let the little things go, breathe, and move on to the important things.

4. Clean as you go. I haven’t written about this for a long time, but early in the life of Zen Habits I wrote about the habit of cleaning as you go. Instead of letting the cleaning pile up, put things away when you’re done. Wash your bowl. Wipe the counters clean as you pass them. Sweep up dirt when you notice it. By cleaning a little bit at a time, as you make messes, cleaning up becomes a breeze, and it’s never difficult. By the way, this applies to everything in life, not just cleaning.

5. Make small, gradual changes. Most people are too impatient to follow this advice — they want to do everything at once. We have so many changes to make, but we don’t want to wait a year for it all to happen. As a result, we often fail, and then feel crappy about it. Or we don’t start at all, because so many big changes is intimidating and overwhelming. I’ve learned the hard way that small changes are incredibly powerful, and they last longer. Gradual change leads to huge change, but slowly, and in a way that sticks. And it’s effortless.

6. Learn to focus on the things that matter. This is implied in the items above, but it’s so important I have to emphasize it. Swimming (or any physical activity for that matter) is best done when you do only the motions that matter, and eliminate the extraneous motions. Stop thrashing, start becoming more efficient and fluid. You do this by learning what matters, and cutting out the wasted activity.

7. Be compassionate. This makes dealing with others much more effortless. It also makes you feel better about yourself. People like you more, and you improve the lives of others. Make every dealing with another human being one where you practice compassion.

Check out the original post by Leo Babauta here.

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