(Reading time 3 minutes)
From the moment we wake up to the moment we fall asleep we are bombarded with reasons to worry.
We worry that the kids will dawdle and we may be late for that important-yet-earlier-that-desirable work meeting.
Worry that we won’t have enough food for our diner guests, or that they may not like coriander.
Worry that the pay will not go in on time to cover that pesky overdue bill in time.
Worry that our wardrobe choice may be an unpleasant mismatch.
Worry that our partner may not love us as much as we like to.
Worry that the annoying ache in our back may be getting worse.
Worry that we cant find our car keys.
Worry that we will not meet that work deadline.
Worry that we haven’t studied enough for that exam.
Worried that we may not secure that next all-important lifeline client.
Worried that the backers will withdraw funding if our venture does not proceed fast enough.
Worry what our colleagues may think of our demeanour, or our last crazy proposition.
Fear gets in the way of nearly everything we do in life. It stops us from picking up telephones, from voicing our views, of unleashing our imagination, of being authentic. Fear of something is without a doubt the reason why your life isn’t quite what you expected. And it is also the thing that will continue to stop you from getting that life.
Nearly all religions declare in some form or other that we should practice detachment, and that it is necessary to attain whatever state of enlightenment, grace or wholeness that one may aspire to.
And for good reason.
Detachment kills fear.
And the irony is, we are inherently fearful of this idea of detachment. There is this sense that it means not caring, it means becoming disengaged and unemotional, it means becoming heartless.
The truth is precisely the opposite.
Not only does detachment kill our fear, it also fills us with gratitude and allows us to fully experience the present moment.
The thing about detachment is that it takes our attention away from what is not yet – and may never eventuate. It means removing the fairy-tale that is continuously forming in our mind, evaluating risks, anticipating wins or losses that may never materialise, or create judgements about what may be be going on in the minds of others. While this may be important and relevant when you are planning something, it gets in the way any other time. And so our attention is inevitably on what is instead of what may -or should- be.
When we allow ourselves to not get attached to the outcome of an activity, we can act with absolute clarity and good judgement.
When we allow ourselves to not be attached to the idea of needing to be loved or even acknowledged by someone, we are able to recognise and accept the love that comes our way with complete gratitude.
When we are not attached to the need for a partner or child, we may cease to fear loosing them, and instead it is possible to completely immerse ourselves in the experience of their company at the present moment. It becomes impossible not to act with complete and selfless compassion and overwhelming respect for them.
When we are not attached to the accolades, promotions or recognition, we can serve our intended purpose without limitations or restrictions (which are almost always self-imposed).
Next time that you sense any kind of anxiety, change the question. Don’t ask what it is that you are worried about, or what you fear.
Look instead for what it is that you are attached to.
Then, when you make the connection, release it. Let it go. Allow it to take its course, give permission. It is a form of respect and complete engagement with what is.
What you may experience can not be described in words. It must be felt. Elan, joy, liberation, grace. But above all, a deeply caring sense of gratitude and calm. Fearlessness. Clarity.
Of course uncovering what you are attached to may not be a simple thing, and may take some time. You may find that there are other hurdles in the way, other attchments. But as you gradually break each of them down, uncover them and cut that rope, you will get better at recognising these attachments. and some may not show up without a guru or teacher. But whatever it is that you need to do, do it.