Why practising detachment from outcome is the most important life-skill to master
Accessing ancient oriental wisdom for practical modern living
The more you crave something, the less likely you are to get it. This is a common dilemma and an essential life paradox. It’s one of those things which you have to get your head around.
Most people are desperately chasing things. They are after either love, or chasing money, success or even chasing someone to reply to their WhatsApp message. But the more you chase, the farther they seem to be going away from you. This is because of the law of abundance and scarcity. Those moments when you are chasing something, ask yourself — “Are you in ‘abundance’ or ‘scarcity’ mindset”?
The very fact that you feel desperate for something means that you feel you lack it. This sense of lack leaves you with the idea that you are in some way insufficient or inadequate with the feeling of “I am not enough”. You end up sabotaging the result because the game of chasing consumes you. You will invariably run around harder and faster trying to attain that which you think you lack, without realising that it is the thought of lack that is causing the entire problem in the first place.
Read that again.
This thought of “not having” produces stress. It creates the fear of loss and doubt — whether its subconscious or conscious. The harder you continue to strain to attain, the more stressed and fearful you will become. Even when you do attain it, you will be exhausted and disillusioned, because you strived so hard to get it. This can further create a loop and feed into the habit of seeing yourself as always lacking.
This is where the Yogic practice of “Vairagya” can help. Roughly translating as dispassion, or detachment, a more practical definition would be “inert attachment” or “detached attachment”. It is the art of inspired actions without expecting the results and knowing that surrendering is the key after action.
The moment you surrender, you are saying, I trust the universe — i.e. “I allow whatever to run through me, to channel through me to use me as a vessel”. “I allow this power to manifest my desires, which are not just my desires because they are beyond myself”. You can start to access spiritual powers and manifestation powers, by cultivating “Vairagya”. The more you are surrendered to the universe with trust that “everything I need will come my way.”
A popular verse in Bhagavad Gita says “Do your duty, but don’t concern yourself with the results”. When you crave results, you experience anxiety if the results are not according to expectations. When you are unconcerned about the results, you can focus entirely on your efforts, and the result will even better than before.
A few years ago, I had a client who was in an unhappy marriage. She desperately wanted a healthy and loving relationship. So, through my Yogic coaching, we worked together on learning boundaries and consent, communicating, growing as a person, and becoming a good partner. She salvaged her marriage and was living happily. Thankfully she had learnt “Vairagya” and trained to detach from the outcome. Sadly, a few months later her husband passed away. She wasn’t dejected or destroyed. Of course, she mourned his loss but trusted the universe and moved on. Today, she is married again happily and is a doting mother to a girl. She had developed the simple understanding that this was meant to be.
Essentially “Vairagya” is the subtle practice of “not caring for the outcome.” You don’t need to be a Yoga master to reap the benefits of this ideology. By simply being aware you can experience an improvement in mental well-being and overall happiness. Negative thinking and critical self-talk are sources of mental suffering. These thoughts can easily be transformed through practicing acceptance, forgiveness, kindness and gratitude. Every time you release the bondage of craving a result, you create more freedom and move closer towards genuine bliss.
Of course, there is a fine line. We cannot surrender to the point where we say — I’m just going to lie down and not do anything at all. Don’t get me wrong, I am not encouraging “inaction”. After you put in the inspired action, all that’s left for you is to get to a place of letting go. Let go of the resistance and watch results arrive. In fact, it’s the balance between trying and yielding. The balance between inspired action and faith. The balance between hard work and surrendering. We can all train ourselves to strike the right balance.
When we feel that connection with ourselves and let go of the craving of the outcome — we access the undeniable force of nature and its laws. That is cosmic energy in flow. When we flow with that, we must trust that and it’ll work in our benefit.
Here’s an affirmation you can work with this weekend. “I don’t chase, I attract. What belongs to me, will simply find its way to me”. I wish you the strength to find that balance — so that you are putting in the inspired action, but you are not attached to the outcome. You no longer hustle, but simply align. You no longer chase but simply manifest.
Connect with Anjaan across social media @MeditateWithAnjaan