Sandra Chaloux

| 05/16/2017

Acceptance & Non-Attachment– a Step Closer to Joy

Acceptance & Non-Attachment– a Step Closer to Joy

I’m on the journey with you to experience more joy. What happens when what you’re putting your heart and soul into isn’t working out as you had hoped? Many of us face this dilemma.

Is disappointment robbing you of joy? Are you telling yourself that you are failing?

If you’ve been in a yoga class, maybe your instructor has asked you to focus on your breath and detach from your thoughts and desired outcomes. What? This is contrary to what we’ve been taught to do in this country. Detaching from our thoughts is really challenging and takes practice, but actually feels awesome and relaxing. But detaching from our desired outcomes, how do you do this and accomplish something at the same time? In our culture, it is all about setting goals and working toward them, right?

I want to pass along some ideas about acceptance and attachment that I have been chomping on myself recently as I’ve been exploring the spiritual aspects of acceptance and non-attachment.

In The Book of Joy by His Holiness Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams, the authors suggest that acceptance is the only place where change can begin. The following is what they observe about acceptance.

“So much of what causes heartache is our wanting things to be different than they are. The suffering comes from us reacting to the people, places, things, and circumstances in our lives, rather than accepting them. When we react, we stay locked in judgment and criticism, anxiety and despair, even denial and addiction. It is impossible to experience joy when we are stuck in this reactive pattern.”

“Acceptance, on the other hand, cuts through the resistance, allowing us to relax, to see clearly, and to respond appropriately. The authors of the Book of Joy say that “much of traditional Buddhist practice is directed toward the ability to see life accurately, beyond all the expectations, projections, and distortions that we typically bring to it.”

“Meditative practice allows us to quiet the distracting thoughts and feelings so that we can perceive reality, and respond to it more skillfully. The ability to be present in each moment is nothing more and nothing less than the ability to accept the vulnerability, discomfort, and anxiety of everyday life.”

“Acceptance is not passive but powerful. It does not deny the importance of taking life seriously and working hard to change what needs changing, and to redeem what needs redemption.”

They point out that “Acceptance is the opposite of resignation and defeat.”

“One of the key paradoxes in Buddhism is that we need goals to be inspired, to grow, and to develop, even to become enlightened, but at the same time we must not get overly fixated or attached to these aspirations. If the goal is noble, your commitment to the goal should not be contingent on your ability to attain it, and in pursuit of our goal, we must release our rigid assumptions about how we must achieve it. Peace and mental calmness come from letting go of our attachment to the goal and the method. That is the essence of acceptance.”

“Too much attachment will destroy your peace of mind.”

The authors go on to explain that “Reflecting on this paradox, of pursuing a goal yet with no attachment to its outcome. There is a deep recognition that while each of us should do everything we can to realize the goal we seek, there are many factors beyond our control that affect whether or not we succeed. So instead, our responsibility is to pursue the goal with all the dedication that we can muster, do the best we can, but not become fixated on a preconceived notion of a result. The authors point out that actually, quite often, our efforts lead to unexpected outcomes that are even better than what we originally imagined.

“It takes time to build our spiritual capacity. It’s like muscles that need to be exercised to be strengthened. Sometimes we get too angry with ourselves, thinking that we ought to be perfect from the word go.”

“When we accept what is happening now, we can become curious about what will happen next. When we accept the present, we can forgive and release the desire for a different past.”

I guess quite a few of us are contemplating what non-attachment means today. Here is another thought-provoking description of non-attachment by Danielle LaPorte in a recent podcast interview with Marie Forleo.

Danielle said she has spoken with rabbis and many spiritual leaders who also describe being non-attached as: playing full out, but not being attached to an outcome. She describes it as wanting something with all of your heart, but not being attached to getting it. Danielle describes Non-Attachment as:

  • spacious
  • mature
  • flexible

  • wanting it with all your heart
  • believing you deserve it (or else you will self-sabotage)
  • imagining that it already exists on some level (giving it words and color)
  • trusting the universe to bring it to you
  • letting it go to your higher power, and allowing for it to happen.

Danielle points out that Non-Attachment requires trust, deep positivity, and faith.

But what happens when you don’t manifest what’s on our bucket list or vision board? She explains that so many of us, being human, feel like “manifestation losers”. “We start thinking we didn’t do it right, or wonder if there is a different science, and we just need to try harder.” She points out that on a metaphysical level, trying harder just pushes it away. She points out that “We need to rest & trust for things to enter.”

She offered some really comforting final thoughts …that with deep positivity and faith, you realize that even if you do not manifest what you want, you will be O.K., you will be supported, loved, you are still talented, loving, and something better will come along. You will not fall apart. The whole fireside chat conversation with Marie Forleo is worth a listen, but you can skip to her conversation about detachment and non-attachment at around the 31:00 minute mark of the podcast.

Lastly, I just listened to an interesting interview with Anita Moorjani. Anita was on her death bed with cancer, spent some time in the other realm, came back to complete her purpose, and is now fully recovered from Cancer. She learned in her brief time in the other realm that what we have been taught here is not true. We live in a fear-based culture. What if we embraced the following ideas that she learned instead?

  • We’re all connected, we’re all one, and not separated. We’re all facets of one consciousness.
  • There is no need to compete –we should collaborate instead.
  • There is nothing to fear. Fear is hell.
  • God/universe watches out for us.
  • Everything that happens to us –actually happens for our benefit to take us to the next level.
  • Illness –is our body’s way of communicating with us and trying to heal us.
  • Chasing and pursuing is based on fear
  • The important question is Who am I? Who have I come here to be?
  • It is important to shine your light bright.
  • Follow your path & it will unfold

I hope these ideas help you move toward more Joy. What is your favorite aha concept here?


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