“Detachment is not a physical thing; it’s a mental phenomenon. Attachment could be said to be the same thing as fear and insecurity. Detachment is the same thing as being comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty, which are facts of life.”
– Deepak Chopra
A friend was sharing about his girlfriend and how – even knowing better – she still choose NOT to do what he considers to be the ‘right thing.’ He shared how when he asked why she would do that, she replied “leave me alone. Let me do what I want to do.” He was very upset & just continued to argue with her. He wanted some advise on how to convince her to do what he considered to be the ‘right’ thing.
I shared with him that people do what they will do and we cannot judge, dictate or even coach them into doing the ‘right’ thing – when they do not want to hear it. That is a choice they need to reach on their own & we need to be fine with their choice.
He was visibly very upset at her choice & asked me “so what should I do?” I responded “give up your attachment to needing to be right!” He paused for a bit & then said “What the f^*k are you talking about! She is the one not making the right choice. What do you mean – me – giving up my attachment!??”
No matter how much I tried to explain or get him to see that it is him that needs to accept and be detached from the upset, he would not hear of it.
So I shared with him this Zen Buddhist story:
Two monks are walking down a country road when they come upon a river. Suddenly a young girl, partially naked from her struggle with the river, runs up to them. She says, “The river flooded away everything I have and my family is on the other side. Can you help me get across to find them?”
The younger monk is flustered, a naked girl! He felt he needed to avoid the temptations of the flesh. But the older one picks up the naked girl, throws her over his shoulder and walks across the river. When he reaches the shore he puts her down, and without a word, walks on. The younger monk follows, but his mind is not at rest. How could his brother have touched a naked girl?
After a couple of hours he stops his brother and says, “Brother, we are supposed to be above things of the flesh! And yet you picked that girl up and carried her across the river.” The older monk replies, “Yes, you’re right and when I got to the other side I put her down. You have been carrying her ever since.”
The young monk carried the worry and the upset for the sins of the flesh, and could not let it go. He lived with the burden and the anguish of what he considered to be a ‘wrong’ doing much longer then the older monk did.
I explained the the moral of the story is that worrying of the burden of living into the considerations of right/wrong is more of a burden then the act itself!
Do you think I gave him the right advice?
I see it that the story is the same about everything in our lives. Once something is complete and we have fulfilled it’s purpose, we can choose to drop it from our minds. Holding it and wondering and questioning the right/wrong-ness of it ceases us from being who we really are in the moment. There is no reason to look back upon our choices.
What we have chosen to leave in the past ceases to be ours. Let it go & detach your ‘self’ from it Now & Forever!