Vairagya is the Sanskrit word for detachment. This is sometimes a very difficult concept. When I first started learning about detachment, I wondered if it meant you were never passionate about anything or excited by the things that are happening. The idea of letting go of the pain or negative emotions that were associated with the events taking place in life was appealing, but I didn’t want to let go of happiness. I’ve come to realize over the years that to be detached doesn’t mean that we no longer experience emotions. Rather we experience everything in our lives fully and completely in the moment without trying to hang onto the experiences we’re having. The hanging on creates fear or insecurity which detracts from the experience. When we’re feeling fear in this way we aren’t living in the present moment and we can’t experience anything fully.
We form attachments to our things, relationships, and our bodies and even to our connection to the divine. We then become afraid of losing them and then can’t really enjoy them or even feel them anymore. Through our fear we sometimes set up the conditions to bring about whatever it is we are fearful of, breeding more discontent. In our connection to spirit, when we become attached we lose our present moment awareness because we’re trying to get somewhere and we fail to notice that we’re always connected.
When we are able to detach from outcomes and just do what we’re doing for its own sake, we start to get lost in the doing and it becomes effortless. The founder of Taoism, Lao-Tzu puts it this way: “By letting it go, it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try the world is beyond the winning”.
Your yoga mat is a great place to practice detachment. There have been many times that I’ve been trying to master a pose and struggled to get it. When I’ve been able to relax and just do what I can the pose just comes to me. All of a sudden I can just do it without effort. Life can be like that too, find the way to flow with whatever is happening and the next thing you know something great happens…and then it’s gone too and you’re on to the next great adventure.