How Does Living in Non-Attachment Look in our Everyday Lives?
For the last two or so weeks we have been talking about non-attachment and the freedom that comes with letting go of expectations of people and relationships.
We have seen that letting people be exactly who they are in each moment, free from judgment or expectation allows unconditional love to flow; both for ourselves and the other person.
So how does living in non-attachment look in our everyday lives?
First and foremost, non-attachment is a state of mind. New attachments will always threaten to form, so non-attachment must be a mindset; a lens with which you view the world. It’s about living in a way that goes with the natural flow of things and respects the impermanence of all life.
The next step is to identify the ego. The ego, built through years of conditioning is what convinces you that you are a separate entity disconnected from all other living and non-living things. It is an image you have of yourself. A perception. But it isn’t who you really are. Non-attachment is ultimately about realizing the truth of yourself. That is, realizing that you’re an expression of the entire whole. There is ultimately nothing to attach to because we are all connected.
A great way to be aware of the ego and take a step closer to living with a non-attached mind is the practice of mindfulness. As you travel throughout the day, be mindful of everything you are doing, whether it be working, writing or eating. For example, if you are eating a sandwich, think about how the bread feels as it crunches in your mouth, the smell of the bread mixing with the meat and cheeses. Be mindful of each bite. If your partner calls you, actively listen. Try not to think ahead of what “he” might say, or how you are going to answer. As you begin to be fully present to each moment, you can observe yourself. Be open to whatever comes up for you. By being mindful, you are not “asleep” to your thoughts and feelings.
Another great tool to use is the practice of radical acceptance. Radical acceptance allows you to accept both the joys and sorrows of life with the same energy. By accepting every situation exactly as it is, you are free from the longing of holding onto a joy and the tension of trying to release a sorrow knowing that all experiences are fleeting.
Tara Brach, author of “Radical Acceptance” explains it this way – Clearly recognizing what is happening inside us, and regarding what we see with an open, kind and loving heart, is what I call Radical Acceptance. If we are holding back from any part of our experience, if our heart shuts out any part of who we are and what we feel, we are fueling the fears and feelings of separation that sustain the trance of unworthiness. Radical Acceptance directly dismantles the very foundations of this trance.
And so we see that the ultimate freedom is to live an unattached life. A life, free from expectations. A life lived fully in the moment, cherishing each experience as it comes.