The Key to Detachment

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Attachment arises out of a single flawed assumption of the ego-mind.

The ego assumes that when a goal is attained, when something happens that we want, then we will be happy, or fulfilled, or joyful. It also assumes that if something undesirable happens, then we will be sad, or angry, or hurt.

In truth, however, our state of Being is completely independent of any events that take place in our lives.

As you sit reading this right now, can you summon a feeling of joy? Go ahead and summon up a happy memory or a joyful expectation. Allow a bubble of joy to grow in the pit of your stomach and rise up to fill your heart. Smile until the smile becomes genuine. Take a few breaths, and inhale joy. Let the energy travel outward from your heart until it fills your Being. Go ahead and close your eyes. Sit with the energy of joy for a while.

Nothing happened in your life to create this joy. You generated joy all by yourself, through simple intention. You were both the cause and the result of joy. And you could create joy at absolutely any time, just by deciding to do so.

This is true no matter what events are happening in your life.
We can summon the state of being in love without being in a relationship. We can create a state of peace, even while watching the evening news.

The ego-mind will have us believe that all of these things -abundance, love, peace – are dependent on what is happening in our lives. The ego will have us believe that love comes into our lives from someone else. The ego believes that peace is the result of having all our tasks done.

So why aren’t we all constantly in a joyful, abundant, peaceful state of Being?

Go ahead and once again summon that energy of joy for a minute or two. If you remain in that state of being for a while, you will notice your mind getting bored. That’s right, joy gets boring after a while! There are no problems to solve, nothing to get worked up over. There are no worries to entertain the mind. That’s why the mind creates attachment.

If we are to stay out of attachment, we need to give the mind something to do. Left to its own devices, the mind is reactive. The mind reacts to everything – every event, what other people say to us, etc., and so creates our state of Being.

If our reaction is negative, the mind will come up with a goal that would create a positive outcome instead. And so we begin believing the illusion that a certain monthly income will give us abundance, or a romantic relationship will bring us love.

But we can become conscious creators.

We can deliberately generate the state of being that we desire for ourselves. We can then give the mind the task of expressing that state of being creatively, through action.

The outcome simply wouldn’t matter. We are already in the state that we want to create. We are simply taking action to give the mind something to do. The mind will think and solve problems and make plans. That is its job, and we can’t change that. But we can make our minds activity about creatively expressing joy, or abundance, or love rather than about creating a specific result.

For example, the mind might suggest that we could call our partner because we want him or her to tell us how special we are – to make us feel loved.
Or we could BE in a state of love, and the creative expression of that love is making a phone call. In this action, we don’t want anything out of the phone call – it’s just our state of being, authentically expressing itself.

While the action is still making a phone call to our partner, the first goal comes from a place of attachment. We want something out of that phone call to feel loved. The other has no agenda. It is just an expression of what we already have and are. Hence, detached.

What if every action we took was only a creative expression of our state of Being? What if every conversation were simply an extension of our Being, with no agenda, no attachment to outcome?

Our state of Being is completely independent of any event, outcome, goal, or person. Nothing that happens in our lives determines whether we are happy, or loved, or fulfilled unless we allow it. This is the key to detachment. We can at any time decide to be peaceful, or in love, or joyful. This is the true gift of free will and free choice.


Edited for readability from:

The Key to Detachment | Empowered Soul
The Key to Detachment
By Andrea Hess
Embrace Your Highest Path

The Space Around Thoughts


Life. Running here and there. Pre-occupied with this and that. Swept away by one thought or another. We barely have time enough to notice time passing, never mind the preposterous proposition, dare I say, to notice not just our thoughts, but the space around them: a momentary peripheral reverberation, an infinitesimal synaptic break between cognitions, the very slightest of pauses, a hiccup in the assembly line of thought production, when thought-after-thought-after-thought finally cease cascading like dominoes, responsible for the myopic blur that so often stands against our yearning for greater sanity. It’s too bad, really, because in-between is where the magic lies.

Our addiction to the grasping tendency of mind causes us to overlook the spaces around thoughts, the felt penumbra that gives our experience its subtle beauty and meaning. Neglecting these fluid spaces within the mindstream contributes to a general tendency to over-identify with the contents of our mind, and to assume that we are the originator and custodian of them.

The troublesome equation “I = my thoughts about reality” creates a narrowed sense of self, along with an anxiety about our thoughts as territory we have to defend.

Meditation practice is a perfect way of slowing down the mind. It transfers to life off the cushion, or, in other words, in the existential reality of every day. Because of the chaotic environment inherent in our obligatory life marathon, it becomes essential to sit, with great discipline, in one place, remaining quiet and still for good stretches of time, to train the mind to be able to be in the here-and-now of the present moment, and

not end up like a leaf caught in the wind, floating wherever the fickle mindstream might take it.

In the absence of such discipline and intentionality, such courage to be, we often find ourselves lost in mental and physical diversions and interpersonal flare-ups that amount to nothing more, when seen straight through, than hair-trigger responses to stress. Sadly, we are blind to all that we do to ourselves, and each other, because we do not take the time to sit still and examine what the heck is going on in what Buddhist psychology smilingly calls our “monkey mind.” How can we once and for all tame that jumpy monkey?

As meditators meditate, they start to spiral in ways that inform the past-present-future paradox. They experience integration, flow, congruence, empathic transference, and a vast spatiality that grows freshly and spontaneously out of a grounding of one’s Being. We discover that our core essence is one of “basic goodness” rather than  the more popular notion of “original sin”.

In one particular moment, though, during no moment in particular, stripped finally of all the labels, recriminations, external judgment, self-loathing, and weaving of storyline, exhausted and spent from meditation’s primary edict to “return to the out breath” over and over again, the false self icon slips at last off the mantle on which it had been long worshipped. The false self finds itself shattered on the floor, destroyed in the awareness of the truth of emptiness (form is emptiness and emptiness is form), taken aback by the eureka, mind-blowing moment of satori, the deliverance into the quiet calm of no-self, and the sweetly unfolding eternality of the now.

“All the wisdom in the world is located in the gaps between breaths, in the space between thoughts”, a meditation teacher once said during a formal sitting practice. But mindfulness provides no easy kick-start, requiring thereafter a personal hyper-vigilance, a growing awareness and friend-making approach toward one’s discursive patterns and internal chatter:  “Even when the obvious extremes of the false self have been divested, there is a tendency to replace them with subtler versions of the same impulse” ~ Epstein

It is good news that insights obtained from this new awakenedness never go completely away. Yet, at the same time, the meditator learns that grasping after it is fruitless. It is attainable only through glimpses that appear from time to time from behind the overcast sky of the “natural attitude.” Reaching mind’s radiant luminosity takes great practice, patience, and diligence, over oh so many years.

But we can take heart—Zen masters have left behind a clue. As Welwood advocates, rather than solely focusing on thoughts and the content of thoughts, the this and the that of our experience, the him and the her, the we and the they, the materiality and daily grind of cause-and-effect, we can remember to explore the space around thoughts, the space between them. What is found in the gap between the out-breath and the in-breath? Where is mind then? Who are you in those spaces? Who are you in those gaps?

Excerpts from PsychAlive:The Space Around Thoughts.