This is a well known philosophy from Buddha about our desires. Buddha taught that our desires and our attachments to certain conditions and circumstances are the root of our pain and our suffering. Let’s explore this further because as human beings, it is very hard not to desire things and to want certain circumstances to happen!
I like to think of it this way: it is fine to desire things and what makes us magnetic to those very things we desire is to come from that place that says, “I desire this, and yet I don’t need it. I am happy if things work out this way and I am happy if they work out another way.”
This ability to have a detached attitude is very powerful. I am sure you have been with people who are this way and you feel very drawn to them because of this relaxed and accepting approach. Another value of being detached is that it takes you out of a place of need and you are no longer coming from an attitude and a core belief in your lack – the belief that you want this thing because what you have is not enough. What follows with this core belief is that your Universe will dutifully reflect back to you this core belief in lack as lack in your life. And to make matters worse, your feelings of lack, even though they may be sub-conscious will also attract more lack. People can subtly feel our “need” for something and this very need, this desire to grab for things, is unattractive and repelling. That is why those with abundance who do not need money always attract more abundance.
So our freedom comes when we are not attached to having certain things or attached to specific results from our endeavours. The value of this non-attachment is that it also frees us from the disappointment that comes when our desires and needs are not fulfilled.
Another aspect of this detatchment is our willingness to accept things exactly as they are. The more we are able to accept any situation we find ourselves in, the easier it is to also accept every part of ourselves. It is always our resistance to our circumstances and ourselves that causes us upset and suffering. Our ability to say, “I accept this situation exactly as it is”, allows us to remain at cause in our thinking and to recognise that this very situation is often a doorway to a new aspect of ourselves or our lives.
So if you find yourself in a challenging situation at work, or financially or in your relationships or family, the first step to moving beyond it is to totally accept it. You may not like it, but you must just accept it exactly as it is and accept all the different aspects of your personality that are being triggered by the situation – your anger, your frustration, your guilt, shame, sadness, whatever it is. All those feelings have to be accepted for what they are.
Very often you find that when you just sit down and allow yourself to feel whatever emotions are present for you, just the very process of feeling them and listening to your thoughts is all that is needed to move to the other side of them. Having done this it is then easier to let the emotions go mentally and to hand them over to your Higher Mind or God. For always when we take our eyes off a situation, then it can easily get better. It is our constant focus on it that makes it very difficult for the Universe to step in and sort things out for us.
Sometimes it is valuable to make a mental list of all the situations in your life that you are not happy about and just totally accept each and every one of them and then release each situation into the hands of your sense of Higher Power. Having done so, you can then let go in the knowledge that the highest power in the Universe can then get to work on your behalf. You can then recognise that you do not need things to be a certain way for you to be happy and regardless how things may seem, everything is working out perfectly, for that is how the Universe will see it!
In my book Spiritual Intelligence in Business I offer 5 ways for seeing situations with detachment:
• One of the most valuable affirmations we can make in any situation that we are tempted to perceive as difficult is “out of this, only good can come”.
• When a problem comes up, ask your Higher Power that your thoughts, feelings, attitudes, perceptions and all attachments about this issue, and how you want it to work out, be transformed.
• Ask to see the situation differently and with emptiness.
• Ask to see it from the perspective of the Buddha or the Tao.
• When your negative emotions come up notice them and acknowledge them in a non judgemental way. Buddha’s teaching suggests acknowledging “there is anger”, “there is sadness”. You may then release them to your Higher Power, asking that you come to understand them and that they be transformed. Do this in the knowledge that these feelings are not the truth of you; they are merely your past pain coming up to be released.”
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