Detachment & learning to let go: Use these golden insights
Detachment and learning to let go, how do you do that? This is a very deep and important life theme. In this article you will learn the meaning of detachment and letting go and how to achieve this. Read further and find out all about detachment…
Learning detachment? Start with the famous story of Chuang Tzu
The Chinese philosopher Chuang Tzu told a story about a farmer who lost his horse. All his friends said comfortingly, “What bad luck!” The farmer just said, ‘How do you know that? Maybe this is luck. ‘
A few weeks later his horse returns, with another horse. Everyone cries out, “What good news!” And the farmer says, ‘How do you know that? Maybe this is bad news. ‘
While trying to train the new horse, his son breaks a leg. “What bad news,” everyone says. Of course the farmer says again: ‘How do you know that? Maybe this is good news. ‘
A few days later the country goes to war, and the ruler summons all men who are not disabled and of the age of the son to the army. The farmer’s neighbors say, “What a luck!” And of course … “How do you know?”
Forms simply break down: loss is inherent to this life
Ironically, if we accept that worldly structures break down sooner or later, all the forms we possess become very pleasing, satisfying and you appreciate them, but without the attachment.
They come and go. And you can let them go when it’s the time. What used to be frustrating now becomes pleasant. Places, people, relationships, situations, successes and failures … You don’t demand more from them than they can. You can let them be, and you can honor them.
Attachment and extreme desire equate to suffering.
You have periods of success, and you have periods of failure. These are necessary for room for new growth and transformation. They cannot exist without each other. A cycle of failure is essential for spiritual growth and realization. Don’t stick to success, go with the flow of life or you’ll suffer. You must at times have failed deeply or experienced great loss or suffering to be drawn into the spiritual. All shapes are not permanent. Failure is hidden in every success and failure is hidden in every success.
Desire less. Then you become a lot richer in one fell swoop.
When the news reports ‘negative growth’ and an official recession is ushered in, many people panic. ‘We’re going to buy less at Christmas, oh no! We no longer walk around like mad dogs this Christmas, how bad! ‘ Everyone is hypnotized that this is all there is. That it is absolutely important. It’s important, but relatively important. Feel the life in you at that moment! Feel a little more vital than that material.
Get into a position that is most comfortable for you. Hold this pose for half an hour. The easiest position quickly becomes the most uncomfortable position. Everything is impermanent, even the easiest attitude in the world.
Loss is inherent in life: the bodies of people around you will leave you unless you leave them first. All those bodies dissolve. Of course this is accompanied by grief and grief, but death is the opposite of birth, not the opposite of life. There is no life and death. There is birth and death. There is circulation (do not confuse this with reincarnation).
“Reject the basic assumptions of civilization, especially the importance of material possessions.”
– Tyler Durden
There is always energy that passes into other forms. Life can suddenly say, “Let go.” And you say: ‘Can’t. That’s part of who I am. ‘ And that’s painful, and then life rips it off and that’s even more painful. Tell life, “Please, here you have it.” That is detachment. Also read the heading ‘Do not seek perfection or stability in forms’ in this article on consciousness.
In the end, we don’t even own anything.
Detachment is necessary to grow
Loss is often a hidden blessing. You don’t see it at that time. Then it looks terrible. When you surrender to loss, however, the other side will show itself. Every time you lose something, you are actually spared!
If you want to grab something, you have to let it go for a moment. If you want to let go of something, you have to take it for a moment.
This world is a school for learning to ‘die’. Don’t literally die, but die for everything we all are not. To die is to let go of the four lower logical levels – all levels below the identity level – to create new possibilities. Your identity remains. In this way, our life is a school to be able to die consciously.
This is the message of Jesus: “You must die, die for your old self, for your ego , for your possessions, die, be born again so that you can be born again in Jesus: in Jesus consciousness.” The character Tyler Durden said it aptly in the movie Fight Club: ‘It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.’
True freedom is the loss of everything.
The lower logic levels are unstable and sooner or later topple. Ego-based structures, financial structures, identification with ideologies … These limitations (the falling of these structures) sooner or later occur in our life situation. The media wants you to believe that that is terrible and that you should be afraid of it. But change is absolutely necessary in this world.
You will rarely hear someone say, “I have awakened because my investments are growing every year.”
– Eckhart Tolle
The challenges of change will push people into a new consciousness. That’s the possibility, the promise. With every crisis situation there is an opening in a new way of being. It is a possibility. This does not mean that everyone is embracing that possibility. It is important for the world and humanity that ego structures (including Financial structures) break down, so that humanity and the world can survive.
If you no longer need those things that were so important to you at first (detachment), they will come naturally. As icing on the cake.
Detachment creates space – Room for new things!
Spacious and emptiness is the mother of form. Suppose you have a newspaper that is completely written, on which you write a letter, with pictures and then some things so that there is no white space left. Nobody could read anything anymore. Someone can read, see shapes and see the world because there is space in between.
When you let go, you have two hands free.
If you are aware of a state we call ‘is’, or life or reality, then that implies another state of ‘is not’, or illusion, non-reality, death: you cannot understand one without the other. .
The existence of death is exactly what makes life life, and what makes life so alive. You can understand one through the other.
The great logic that we are taught, however, is that nothingness is connected with powerlessness. We don’t realize that’s a complete logical fallacy. On the contrary: it takes ‘nothing’ to have ‘something’. You wouldn’t know what the shape is without the space in the background. You couldn’t see anything without the nothingness behind your eyes.
You can’t shake anyone’s hand with a clenched fist.
– Indira Gandhi
‘Nothingness? Meh, God save us from that! ‘ But that is precisely the secret. And secrets are always in places you never think about seeking them: where was Christ born? Not in a palace, but in a stable.
If nothing is yours, everything is yours. This moment is a strange and unexpected prize.
– Jeff Foster
And that nothingness is like the nothingness of space, which contains the entire universe, with all the suns, stars, mountains and the rivers, the good and bad people, the animals and the insects and everything. Everything comes from that space, from which everything originates, and it is you (read more about this in the article on non-duality ).
The most important thing in the universe is what no one else values. That one thing that doesn’t matter and is completely useless. What is the most valuable in the world? The head of a dead cat. Why? Because no one puts a price on it. What if you think, ‘Hmmm I really need this. That would be very spiritual, it would be very good for me. I would be a better person with that cat head then. People would like me. I can then contribute something to society … ‘Well … Then you are putting the cart in front of the horse. Then the tail is trying to make the dog wag.
– Alan Watts
Material loss is a trial of your faith
Do you want a powerful mindset? Do you want Divine nearness and favor, knowledge and wisdom, true understanding, security, infinite grace and immortal life? What you need for this is: complete detachment from earthly things that are so dear to us.
Purify yourself of everything earthly, such as:
- Vain talk.
- Useless imaginations.
- Worldly desires.
- That which perishes.
However, this is not easy. There are quite a few obstacles on the road to detachment: pride, status, pride, selfish desire, boast, self-righteousness …
And yet you will have to. See next section …
You will have to detach: everything and everyone changes in this world
At this point, anything is possible. If someone was bullied in the past and as a result showed insecure behavior, he can now just show the opposite behavior at the moment. All he has to do is detach from his old feelings and behaviors . The past is not the same as the future. Everyone is always new.
I will meet you today.
And I see you.
And I’ll meet you again tomorrow.
And you look almost completely the same as yesterday.
And I see you as the same person as yesterday, but you are not.
The whirlpool in a stream never really holds water. The water flows through it all the time. New water keeps flowing through it, but the whirlpool looks the same.
In the same way you have, for example, the University of Eindhoven, the smartest region in the world. The students change at least every 4 years. The faculty changes at a slower pace, the buildings change: they tear them down and build new ones. It’s a pattern.
In the same way, each of us is a vortex in the flow of existence. Nothing can be pinned down. You cannot keep following atoms and electrons either. Everything flows away.
As with all creative, change is inescapable.
Nothing is permanent, except change.
Nothing is always.
– Jane Yolen
Impermanence lives really in everything, except in the soul
Objects, thoughts, feelings … All These things change form and will dissolve. The only thing that remains is your soul, or in other words: your intuition or mere consciousness . If you are looking for the eternal truth, you must look beyond the transient nature of matter and become aware of what that transience has . Your soul. Pure Consciousness. Space.
The only thing that doesn’t change is the soul.
Let’s take a side step for a moment and look at the wave motion of life, as explained in the article on non-duality.
What if a great musician plays a piece of music? He plays it today and he plays it tomorrow. Is it the same piece of music or a different one? Are the leaves of the next year that come off the tree the same leaves as of the year before? They have the same shape, the same botanical properties. But if you take a leaf from last year and a leaf from this year, they are not the same.
Not the same, and yet not different.
– Proverb in the Pali language
When we look at non-duality and quantum physics, we learn that everything is made up of waves and rhythms. There are long intervals and short intervals, low and high vibrations. You just often can’t see them: when you hear a high-pitched sound, you don’t see any gaps in the vibrations, because it’s going too fast. It sounds completely continuous. But when you listen to the lowest audible notes on an organ, you feel the vibrations. You feel the vibrations, and you hear the music turn on and off.
Were you to discover the hidden infinite oceans of my imperishable riches, you would certainly regard the world, even all creation, as nothing.
– Bahá’u’lláh, with the channeled words of God
We experience ourselves in high and short vibrations (on-off-on-off, new-gone-new-gone) but it seems as if we are continuous (although the rhythm of sleep and awake is there) but the rhythm that runs from generation to generation and from life to life we do notice because it is much slower, so we can notice the gaps. So we live on many levels of rhythm. Impermanence is essential to a rhythm. It’s everywhere.
We will realize that our partners, jobs, beliefs, assets, certificates, awards, bank balances, successes, stories, persons, objects, circumstances, our old stories and even our perfect bodies do not make us happy. In any case, not the kind of never-ending, uninterrupted, complete happiness that we really seek and know is possible. It hurts when we have to come to this realization roughly. Depression and despair are part of that. But at the heart of that breaking that illusion is an invitation to transcend all those worldly things. Then we can rediscover That which never changes: our true nature. Our soul. You discover that that space that you are is the source of true happiness.
– Free translation, inspired by a poem by Jeff Foster from ‘The Free Fall in Life’.
If you don’t resist but let go… then change will be wonderful!
When you resist change, you have frustration and suffering (Dukha). But on the other hand, if you understand change, don’t stick to it and let it go, it doesn’t become a problem, it just becomes beautiful.
There is always a hidden beauty and splendor in the image of disappearance and the running out of things. This theme is a wonderful source of inspiration in poems. It is always the image of change that really makes the poem a poem:
Heaven’s light forever shines, Earth’s shadows fly;
Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass,
Stains the white radiance of Eternity,
Until Death shatters it to fragments.
– Percy Bysshe Shelley
In Japanese there is even a special word to capture this sense of change: ‘ Yugen ‘. It’s a mysterious feeling of liking change. You have this feeling when you suddenly see wild geese in the distance and suddenly see them disappear into the clouds.
Or the feeling when you look at a mountain, while you have not yet been to the other side of the mountain. You don’t go there to see what’s on the other side. That’s not a yugen. You let the other side be the other side. And it triggers something in your fantasy. But you are not trying to define and pin it down.
Being okay with insecurity is a sign of inner strength.
The coming and going of things in the world and in your life is wonderful. They are going, and where are they going? Don’t try to answer that. That wastes the mystery. They disappear into mystery.
Life is life precisely because everything changes.
How can you deal with that change? Resentment or detachment …
And there are 2 attitudes to all those changes in this world:
- Resentment. You get that by resisting. You don’t have to completely ban resisting change: a little is allowed, as with temptation.
- Enjoyment. You get that through detachment, as well as acceptance and surrender.
One of the symptoms of a nervous breakdown looming is the belief that your work is incredibly important.
– Bertrand Russel
Don’t push that idea of letting go too far
The life of a nun, monk or dervish … that goes far beyond its purpose. Detachment does not mean that you have to go to the woods to live. That is not detachment, because then you have nothing to be detached from it! A well-known dervish was once invited to travel the world with the king. On the day they were due to leave, the king left all his belongings behind, but the dervish insisted on retrieving his only possession, a cloth. Which of the two is more detached?
Do not think that being poor will take you to awakening
Do not wait for difficulties to be pushed into presence thereby, without moving forward yourself. A dog can move forward, or lazily wait for owner to hit him to move forward. Even if you are poor, you can still fool yourself: ‘One day when I have money …’
Your mantra for detachment: ‘This too will pass’
Do you know the story of the gold ring? It says: ‘This too will pass’.
A village was attacked and taken by a group of warriors from another tribe. The king of the victorious tribe said he would put the entire village to death unless the village could tell him what could “make him happy when he was sad, and sad when he was happy.”
The villagers built a great bonfire and all night long their wise men and women thought to find an answer to the king’s question.
What could make a person happy when he was sad, and sad when he was happy?
The king entered the village at dawn. As he approached the wise men, he asked, “Have you found an answer?”
One of the sages then reached into his pouch and handed the king a gold ring.
“I don’t need any more gold,” cried the king. “How can this ring make me happy when I’m sad, and sad when I’m happy?
Then the king looked again and saw an inscription.
It said, “This too will pass away.”
When you are in difficult situations, know: this will pass too. Then you can enjoy all the good things in the world even more, without fear of loss or uncertainty for the future.
The shape of small things leaves room for inner space. True happiness, “being,” can come from this.
Use the words, “This too will pass.” Suddenly space is created around events, shapes, emotions and thoughts. Out of that comes a piece that is out of this world. That’s the part of God. The new dimension of inner space comes through detachment. You are then not attached to the result.
And you don’t make unreasonable demands on the world: “Make me happy, make me who I am, tell me who I am.” Because the world cannot give that to you, you suffer. If you no longer have those expectations, all self-made suffering will come to an end. You can then enjoy all the worldly without losing yourself in it, without becoming addicted to the world. The world is otherwise a threatening place.
Friedrich Nietzsche on happiness: “How little is enough for happiness?”
You cannot lose your life because it is you
When you talk about “my life” and believe in what you say, instead of using it linguistically, you are implying that there are two separate things: a split personality, your life, and its owner, you. And so you can also lose your life. Death then becomes a serious threat. If you are something else, and therefore separate from life, then you are separate from all things, all that is, all people.
You are life! You and life are one. So how can you lose your life? How can you get rid of something you didn’t have in the first place?
Let go of arguments by using the here and now
Ducks have a very short fight. They then go in their own direction, blow the negative energy from their wings and go on with their lives as if nothing had ever happened. If the ducks had a human spirit, they would keep the fight alive by thinking, by making stories. Fly your wings and return to the one moment of power: the present moment.
Do you want to detach? Get into the here and now
The only real reality is now . It hurts when you go against reality. Everything you need is already here, now. You need what you have. How do I know I don’t need what I don’t have? I do not have it.’
Go fully in the flow of change
Go / swim with the flow of change, and don’t resist it. Then you will be peaceful. You flow with it. Moreover, you cannot cling to anything.
This especially counts at times when life really wants to take us along, and the flow of change swallows us completely. The moment of death, for example. At that point, you will have to be absolutely willing to die.
There is no other problem for a human except to go into that waterfall when he comes.
When you understand that your disappearance as the form you think you are is seasonal, you understand that you are as much the dark space called death as you are the light interval. These are just two sides of you.
This is the realization of non-duality : you are the full wave. No one has ever seen a half wave that only has a peak and no troughs. When you don’t resist change, you see that the changing world, which disappears like smoke, is no different from the Nirvana world.
Let your breath out too. Don’t hold your breath. Let the breath go.
Good news: you don’t even have to make an effort to let go
And there is good news: you don’t even have to try. You are liberated by the fact that it is not naturally possible to stop changing. It cannot be done. We don’t naturally resist it automatically!
It makes sense, doesn’t it …
- Grabbing and grabbing something, you have to make an effort.
- Do not reach for something or just let go, you can literally let all your muscle strength relax.
Take this idea even further! Don’t even bother to let go! You don’t even have to try.
To let go is not to let go. You don’t even have to try.
Use these tips to declutter
The things you own, end up owning you.
– Tyler Durden
Detachment is also: going straight ahead
For this, let’s look at the literal meaning of Tao. Tao is literally: the path, or the way. Walk the path without stopping. Go! Have a mind that will not stop and just keep going so that there is no time to think, doubt, and attach to old things. If someone hits you, you immediately say: ouch! You don’t think about that response, but you do that response.
Love is patient and full of goodness … She endures everything, she believes everything, she hopes everything, she persists in everything.
– 1 Corinthians 13:17
Do you want to detach? Do not seek identification with what you are not
Where there is no identification, there is no attachment (the greatest source of suffering.)
Exercise – Key Questions About Material Loss
May I ask you some questions? But instead of answering them now, see if you can find the answer inside. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in words. Are you ready to listen? Beautiful. Answer the following questions in this way:
Do you have something to which you feel attached (such as a precious tableware)?
- Do you realize that at some point, sooner or later, you have to let go of the crockery, maybe pretty soon?
- How much time do you need before you are ready to let it go?
- Will you be less if you let it go?
- Has who you are diminished by your loss?
You have the choice: How do you want to live life? To detach or hold on?
Smoke, for example from a cigarette, or a wok for a sunbeam, is full of designs and beautiful images, and it slowly disappears. Everything in the world of form is like that. You want to lean on it, hold it … But that destroys it.
Now that you know this, there are 2 options:
The wrong attitude: ‘I feel all these beautiful feelings of’ love ‘and shapes and then I fall apart: teeth, disease, old age, etc so I better not be attached to them and I am not allowed to enjoy life. I have to keep my distance from it. Never love again. Love Hurts.’
On the other hand, a fabric of smoke can be very beautiful, provided you don’t lean on it, don’t want to grab it, don’t want to keep it, or else you’ll destroy it. Like smoke, there is nothing in the world of form that you can lean on.
When you see that, the world of form is very beautiful. If you can let it go! This also applies in relationships: you must also be able to let the other go. That is detachment: not being confused by things. Go with everything and don’t resist the changes.
You can afford to go with shape and fall in love and get involved with all kinds of shapes, provided you know it is an illusion. And illusion is not necessarily bad! But now you are no longer attached to it and can afford to enjoy it too.
Read the books by Jan Geurtz and John C. Parkin
‘About love and letting go – The life crisis as a spiritual breakthrough’ and ‘Fuck it – Letting go, relaxing and being happy’ are excellent books about detachment and learning to let go.
So: be detached and enjoy!
When you are detached and have found that you are not going to hold on to everything that changes, then everything will be different: great! You become sharper in your senses, more awake, you feel as if you are floating and you see that there is no difference between the normal world and the Nirvana world. They are the same world, but what makes it different is the perspective: the perspective of detachment!
What are your experiences with detachment? Let me know in the comments.