The Art of Detachment

Now I don’t know what the word “detachment” conjures up for you.  It may carry negative connotations, it may mean self-protection or cool aloofness to you, but that’s not the kind of detachment I am writing about.  There is a spiritual concept of detachment, which is actually a very good thing and can be a lifesaver in desperate times.  I first learned about it from a great little book by Deepak Chopra called, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success.  Detachment is the 6th law he talks about in the book.  It is probably 6th because the first 5 prep you enough that you can handle reading about detachment without having an ego freak-out.  If you read about detachment first you might chuck the book into the nearest garbage can (err...recycling bin).  Despite the potential for an ego freak-out, I am writing about it anyway because there is such a valuable lesson in it.  Here’s the definition straight from the book, “The Law of Detachment says that in order to acquire anything in the physical universe, you have to relinquish your attachment to it.  This doesn’t mean you give up the intention to create your desire.  You don’t give up the intention, and you don’t give up the desire.  You give up your attachment to the result.” 

You have a dream; a deep desire and you want it to come true.  In practicing the spiritual law of Detachment you can still hold onto that dream and desire, but you must relinquish how it comes about and what it looks like in the end.  The Art of Detachment allows for something different, but just as good, or even something better.  Sure you’re on this path, you’re committed to being an actor, painter, writer, artist.  You have a vision and clear goals of what that looks like.  But you can only control so much of what you envision, the rest is up to the mystery of the cosmos and often other people.  You can envision being the next recurring star on House of Cards, but what if there is something else, something better, something more fulfilling that your heart of hearts longs for, but you can’t see yet?  Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way writes, “Sometimes you shake the apple tree and the Universe delivers oranges.”  Still fruit, still good, just a different result that what you thought.  What would happen if you allowed for the possibility of oranges in the end? …(or bananas or pineapples or avocados?!)   

                                               "Orchard Row" by  Liz West  used under  CC BY 2.0  

                                               "Orchard Row" by Liz West used under CC BY 2.0 

The Art of Detachment reminds me of the simple prayer, “this or something better.”  You don’t know how things will turn out, none of us do.  You think this thing that is happening to you right now is the most miserable thing in the world, but you have no idea where it will lead.  Many people that survive a life-threatening illness say the experience ends up being the biggest gift in their life because of what they learned and how their lives changed for the better.  Maybe you didn’t land that job because you need the fire in your belly to start your own project and if you keep booking the same kind of jobs you become comfortable, you sit back on your laurels and never take the reins and put into the world what is yours to do and share…that thing that you are really meant to be doing.  You know what I’m talking about.  There is greatness in you that longs to come out.  Don’t hold yourself back.  Begin it!  

The Art of Detachment is practiced when you relinquish your firm grasp on your dream and instead hold it open in your palm and say, “I really want this and I am working for it and I also allow for something even better to happen.”  My guess is you’ll be delighted with what the Universe can surprise you with! 

                                               Unknown creator 

                                               Unknown creator 

Do you have an experience of letting go of the results only to be surprised with something better in the end?  Share it below in the comments!