I am currently doing an online 21 day meditation challenge through the Chopra Center. The theme: Harvesting Abundance. Today is Day 13. The meditations are sent via email every morning and are available for you for ten days after the mediation is released. They last 15 minutes and are wonderful but it really is amazing how much of a struggle it has become for all of us, myself included, to take 15 minutes out of our day. There’s always a reason. We can’t get up 15 minutes earlier, replace 15 minutes of TV or the internet or simply make ourselves sit down to do something that seems like extra work. I know compared to most out there I have all the time in the world right now, working minimal hours, and juggling the rest of the time between rest and some appointments, yet even I find myself struggling to take the 15 minutes that I know are so good for me.
By the way, I am posting about this four days late because I am a a slow blogger. Oh well.
The Law of Detachment. A difficult concept but so crucial for life. One of the messages that I think is the most difficult for all of us, “You reliquinish the desire to manage circumstances and force solutions in order to manifest your desires.” I think we often struggle with this, particularly in the good old USA. It goes against our engrained cultural beliefs. The American Dream is founded on the idea that you go after your aspirations and don’t stop for anything. We set our eyes on something, decide we want it and put the blinders on so we don’t get distracted by anything else along the way. But here we are being told that sometimes hanging onto this dream with a death grip may not be the very best thing for us.
How often do we all do this? We get fixated or attached to an outcome or an idea. Maybe we decided something has to be a certain way because it was engrained in us from an outside source. Maybe it came from the influence of society, a religious authority, family or maybe we just derived an idea or goal on our own. It can seem like a positive aspiration: maybe we feel that we must graduate with a 4.0, become a lawyer, get an important job, work in x field, get married. The list goes on. These are all great things, and even Deepak says in this mediation: we should focus on what we desire and take the neccessary steps to manifest our dreams. But here’s the problem, we tend to become attached dearly to these ideas and refuse to part from them, leading us far away from the most important step of the process: to find security in the face of uncerainity to let go of any outcomes. At some point, we must “let the wind go where it goes.” And that can be the hardest, scariest thing to do in life yet it is the only way to allow for an “abundance of opportunity.”
Think about all the other ways we struggle to detach in life. How many times have we hung onto old relationships long after they’re over or don’t serve us anymore simply because we had a plan in our head about the future (whether it be a couple of weeks, months, years) with that person or because we are afraid to let them go to see who/what new might come along? How many times have we ended up in a job situation that leaves us with an emptiness because we are too entrenched with the belief that this was the job we everyone wanted us to do, the job we studied for, the job one would dream for? How many times do we resist the fact that something clearly wasn’t meant to be even though every sign is there in front of us? Better yet, how many hours a day do we spend on anything but the present moment, whether it be the past, future, or some other place your mind takes you because we are determined to control our lives be a certain way?
All of this because the idea of facing uncertainty is too terrifying.
Take a personal simple example of attachment vs dettachment. When I first started having things get a little out of hand with my health last fall and there were still no answers, it was collectively decided that I would spend the first couple months of my last semester trying to sort things out before going abroad for an internship that I had planned since my junior year of college. My health was competly erratic, my career path was clearly changing (which I was in complete denial of) and so was my life. But I simply had to keep applyimg for abroad programs. THIS HAD BEEN MY PLAN. THIS IS WHAT I STUDIED TO DO. THIS IS WHAT I HAD TOLD EVERYONE I WAS DOING FOR THE SPRING. I was simply fixated with this outcome. It was probably obvious to everyone else around me it no longer made sense but I was blind sighted. If I let go of all this, what would my new path be? What would I do with myself? Of course, I lost the $50 deposit and eventually conceded it made no sense to go abroad to another country in the middle of a health crisis. I learned it was time I had to drop the deadlines and the idea that I could still plan everything out.
So how can we detach from outcomes? Are we supposed to just sit in a chair, make a wish and then wait for whatever to happen? Of course not. We get things done in life by setting our intentions but from there it is the art of maintaing the difficult balance between taking actions to manifest these intensions and becoming obsessive over the way it is supposed to pan out.
I know I have to really apply the law of detachment for my “healing journey” as I call it. But there are plenty of times that I ditch this law and latch onto ideas that I HAVE TO GET BETTER, I HAVE TO DO THIS CAREER ONCE I’M BETTER, I MUST BE ABLE TO DO THIS BY THIS DATE, etc, etc. But that’s not how it works and I guess that’s what these “conditions” have taught me to start doing: detaching. In some ways, I guess it’s a blessing.
I have every intention and desire to get better, I have confidence that I will (though some days my confidence is most definitely tested), I am taking all the necessary steps and more to do so, but from there I can only let “the universe do its job.” Latching onto the idea that I must get better no matter what will do me no more good than latching onto the idea that I won’t get better. The days I am most centered is when I don’t worry about tomorrow, a year from now or an hour from now. I don’t panic that I am still not better enough to be out in the real world. I don’t think about the past two years. I don’t think about the lovely words of “could, should, need, must.” I think about the now. I have this inner stillness that everything will be okay and I will continue to control the only part I can, putting one foot in front of another and how I react to the present moment. And then the days come that this is all falls apart. I find myself getting caught up in the worry that things aren’t “fixed yet,” that I am missing out on life, that I should be doing this or that, etc. I am everywhere but the now. And it’s not a good place to be.
Lastly, there’s always the practice of applying this law to our relationships. No, we don’t need to isolate from the world but we do to tend to set up expectations of people and situations in life due to our own attachments. When the outcome doesn’t go as planned whether it be people don’t meet our expectations, our paths change and we no longer need these people in the same way, or any other good old life events, we find ourselves in a state of crisis because we don’t know what to do. Relationships constantly evolve, come, go, fade, and everything else. I am starting to realize all we can do is be the person we want to be, offer what we can and then trust that we will attract people into our lives who make us that much more complete. It is amazing the positive changes that can happen in relationships when we are able to do this. When you shift, everyone around you shifts or so it seems.
Of course, the law of detachment is a continuous practice, not something that we can just check off as either done or not done. I tend to forget this often. I guess we are all a bunch of “westerners” when we want to be able to learn something, check it off the list and just know how to do it from here on out. If only! I have seen it first hand through this experience. If you ever told me two years ago, I would be where I am today, I would have laughed at you. I could have never planned for this. I do know that if I was still hanging onto my old vision of my life, I would be in a much worse place and probably wouldn’t be writing this blog or even half the chunk of health that I have now. But it’s difficult to break old habits.
So this Thanksgiving week, take a step back and decide for yourself. Are they any outcomes or ideas that you’re attached to? Are they serving you any good? Are they helping you move forward to more opportunities? You decide.
Chopra’s Centering Thought of the Day:
“As I let go of the need to arrange my life, the universe brings abundant good to me.”
All is well.
Check out the mediation for yourself! It may just change your week or maybe your life 🙂
side note: All of this info can be obtained from this mediation. ….I learned way too much about copyright in Business Law during college…I think I have become slightly paranoid.