Detachment, a difficult path to happiness

Jorge Bicho · 17.08.2017
  • /

"A man made a great journey to visit a wise man from a distant city of whom all spoke. When he arrived at his house, he was surprised to see the austere life he lived in a humble house with no furniture and only a few books. The traveler, amazed, asked him, "Where are your furniture?" And the wise man answered and said: and yours? Mine? - the man surprised - but if I'm here just passing through; "So am I," concluded the sage.

Is it essential to practice detachment to be happy? Or at least to be wiser? We hear a lot of detachment and philosophies as forceful as Buddhism proposing as one of the ways to reach the longed for happiness.
Usually - for cultural and linguistic reasons - we assimilate their meaning with people who practice contempt or are "distant" emotionally. Unattached, it can be said of someone who has little relation to his family, or who does not show affection with his partner profusely, but the attachment / detachment duality means many other things.

Attachment can for example be a kind of caprice, of enchantment with a thing, person or situation determined, all by believing that without "this" it will not be possible to be happy.
It is born of the non-acceptance of the "impermanence" of things: we ourselves end up feeling immortal much of our life and it makes us afraid to think of death as a fact that shows that we are not infinite. It is also hard for us to think that when we like someone or something, you will be with us for as long as it is, but soon it will disappear, and when we think, we do it from the pain that can imply this loss, anticipating the lack before it even appears.

On the other hand, it arises from our own insecurity because when we feel it, we cling to things or people and far from solving our anguish, this returns to grow from this growing fright in the face of this loss. Detachment does not mean to stop loving a person or to stop feeling the lack of something, but simply to foster our autonomy, to be able to not be distressed by a foreseeable future, an emotion that habitually vitiates our relationships with people and things .

House, clothes, cars, and other objects are transient symbols that come and go. Pursuing these symbols is tantamount to "striving to increase the treasure on the map, but not to enjoy the territory."
Buddhism reveals that attachment is the product of the poverty-centered awareness of symbols. The problem lies in the identification of security with the possession of things, returning to make visible our insecurity because the tranquility that can give us is ephemeral. Those who seek security, pursue it all their lives, without ever finding it. We ended up just building a jail around us with the previous conditioning.

Attachments can even be very harmful in our daily lives. An excess of zeal with the children can turn them into beings incapable of solving problems for themselves and parents in pathological fearfuls for possible loss.

Also in relation to things we have neurotic attachments (when, for example, we lose the cell phone - which in our days is almost worse than losing our soul - generating states of anxiety almost of pain) because we think that all these accessories create a field of protection and Curious is that we do not realize that what we believe protects us is creating a barrier that prevents us from relating with authenticity.

Detachment does not detract from our focus on goals, we do not give up on intention for result. We live the here and now and we like what happens, which accompanies us, without putting any future expectations. And it is this detail, this small detail that actually makes the true transformation in our way of understanding and understanding the world.

To begin this path of detachment, we must seek outside of ourselves the things that make us happy. Connecting more intensely with our inner self will increase our confidence in order to give us the real dimension to what happens to us, and above all, to be aware that people and things simply accompany us:

"All things to which you cling, and without which you are convinced that you can not be happy, are simply your reasons for anguish. What makes you happy is not the situation that surrounds you, but the thoughts that exist in you and in your mind ... "

adapted from a text of: Luis Llorente
Centro del Coaching