I’ve heard both Deepak Chopra and Wayne Dyer say, “Be open to everything and attached to nothing.” A less stressful way to live a joyful life in my opinion. But what if you’re not sure how to release attachments you have to people, things, or patterns?
I have to admit, in the beginning I had a hard time with the topic of detachment because I equated being detached from not really wanting something. And as a type A driver, who was always very goal-oriented, I was confused about setting goals but then telling myself to not be concerned about the outcome.
This quote from Deepak from his book Creating Affluence really helped me to understand detachment more clearly:
“You let the universe handle the details. It is important to have a clear goal in your awareness but it is also important to relinquish your attachment to the goal. And the goal is in the gap, and the gap in the potentiality to organize and orchestrate the details required to affect any outcome.
Perhaps you recall an instant when you were trying to remember a name, and you struggled and struggled, but with no success. Finally, you let go of your attachment to the outcome, and then a little while later the name flashed across the screen of your consciousness. This is the mechanics for the fulfillment of any desire.
When you were struggling to recall the name, the mind was very active and turbulent. But ultimately, out of fatigue and frustration, you let go and the mind became quiet and slowly quieter – perhaps so quiet that it was almost still and you slipped into the gap where you release your desire and soon it was handed to you. This is the true meaning of “Ask and you shall receive,” or “Knock and the door shall be opened for you.”
One of the easiest and most effortless ways of slipping into the gap is through the process of meditation. And there are many forms of meditation and prayer than can help us to manifest desires from the level of the gap.”
I’m going to dive deeper into the topic of attachment from the wisdom in Don Miguel Ruiz Jr.’s book The Five Levels of Attachment to help you identify and release attachments which no longer serve you.
Let’s get started.
Ruiz talks about learning to see and live beyond your filters which are the accumulated knowledge and beliefs you carry with you. You see, we have spent years becoming “attached” to certain beliefs that begin to shape our future experience and actually limit us. Like wearing blinders, we limit our vision and this in turn limits our direction in life. It can dramatically limit the experiences our authentic self is calling out for.
According to Ruiz, the five levels of attachment are guideposts for gauging how attached we are to our own points of view, as well as how open we are to other opinions and possibilities. As the level of attachment increases, our identity, the “who I am”, the “authentic self” becomes more directly linked with knowledge or the “what I know”. Then knowledge begins to control us instead of us controlling knowledge. Attachments can lead to suffering. We can feel it in our bodies as it happens. We just don’t always stop long enough to ask ourselves what we’re attached to and why it is causing us to suffer.
Level One – The Authentic Self
This is the level of pure, unlimited potential and where your soul wants us to operate from.
Level Two – Preference
At the level of Preference, you would say that you prefer one way or thing over the other. You aren’t invested in your need to defend your choice. It is simply a preference but you could easily choose another thing or course of action without attachment. You are relaxed and simply enjoy things for what they are.
Level Three – Identity
At this level, you identify with your preference. You feel a connection with the product or the thing or the experience based upon what you’ve read, been told, and personally experienced. You become rigid in your defense of the attachment and become preoccupied with it. It is beginning to become part of your persona.
Level Four – Internalization
At level four, the attachment has become an intrinsic part of your identity. You take criticism personally if someone challenges your beliefs and you become envious of others who you perceive to have more, do more, or are more than you. You only associate with people who share your own beliefs and judge others who don’t share the views. You have internalized your attachment to such an extent that it has become a condition of your self-acceptance. Then you begin to impose this image onto the people you love as well as others who you interact with in your everyday life.
BUT WAIT – IT GETS EVEN MORE INTENSE!
Level Five – Fanaticism
This last level is a doozey!
At level five you begin to worship your attachment. It is perfect and can do no wrong. You won’t even listen to the nay-sayers. If something goes wrong, you defend your position without question. If someone has a different belief than you, you judge them as being the enemy, the traitor “the other”. You become uber competitive and controlling. You believe your way is the only way. And if you stumble, you feel like a complete failure and become depressed. There is no longer a separation between you and your attachment. At this level, your belief is stronger than your experience. You have become a fanatic and suffer the consequences when things start to change.
Now what can you do to release attachments?
I’m going to refer you back to my blog post from September 18 when I provided my top 13 list of actions you can take to release attachments or any toxic energy that is keeping you from remembering your joy.
I’d like to leave you with a great quote from Don Miguel Ruiz Jr. that really sums up the importance of taking ownership of your life so you can experience the joy you were always meant to feel. He says:
“We are the ones responsible for ourselves and our reality.
We are the creator of our own dream.
The field of possibilities awaits our next step,
and we can take that step confident in our ability to do so.
When we are aware and see the truth of infinite potential,
that is ultimate freedom.“
Love from your Joy Mama,