Detachment is essential on the path to inner fulfillment, but it has often been confused with abandonment. The general opinion is that we must renounce the things that give us worldly pleasure in order to experience detachment, but attachment is not the same as possessing. You can have possessions without being attached, just as you can live in a cave with nothing, and be attached all the same! Attachment is about letting go of need, of the fear of loss; ultimately, it’s about finding fulfillment within ourselves, so that we no longer depend on the things or people around us for satisfaction. When this happens, you can fully enjoy the things you have, but without the fear of losing them.
What are you attached to? We are all attached to something. It might be our children, our partners, our material possessions, our jobs. Or it might be to something more subtle; our image, our ideas, our beliefs and convictions. If you ever find yourself trying to hold a position, or defend an idea, you can be sure you are attached.
Simply becoming aware of what you are attached to is the first step towards letting go. When you are conscious of an attachment, you will be able to identify the need that is attached to it, and the fear that is activated every time your attachment is threatened in some way. When this happens, go inwards and allow yourself to feel the anxiety or fear. By feeling this emotion, you will move closer to healing the emptiness that ultimately leads you to seek external fulfillment.
We think the things around us are our source of happiness, but when we let go of attachment, we discover the boundless joy that lies within. This inner experience of fullness, or love-consciousness, brings with it true freedom, for we no longer depend on that which is ever changing in order to feel complete.
Isha Judd is an internationally renowned spiritual teacher and author; her latest book and movie, Why Walk When You Can Fly? explain her system for self-love and the expansion of consciousness. Learn more at www.whywalkwhenyoucanfly.com.