S:0990 Distinction: Non-Attachment vs. Detachment

(Distinctions are subtleties of language that,when gotten, cause a shift in a belief, behavior, value or attitude.)


This is a subtle and powerful, maybe even life changing, Distinction. When you see, understand, ‘get’ and live it you will interact with your world differently and more peacefully.

Much has been written and said about the value of non-attachment. In contrast, when you are attached to an outcome you have certain built-in expectations. A part of you begins to require the outcome to occur so you can feel good. Even though, for many people, goal setting, visualization, and affirmations are useful tools to help bring about the outcomes they want those same tools can lead to their minds becoming so invested in the results they become attached to them occurring. Non-attachment means this does not happen.

When non-attached you may work just as vigorously toward your goals. You may have full intention of them occurring. You may have a palpable image of what it will be like when they happen. But you do not judge yourself, or indeed life itself, based on whether those outcomes occur or not.

A way to tell if you are attached to outcomes is to notice if you judge yourself as good or right if they occur or bad or wrong if they don’t. If your self-image, even your sense of self-worth, is outcome-dependent, then that is a sign of attachment.

Just as un-useful is to practice detachment, which is a subtle form of avoidance. You typically notice this when someone says they don’t want to “get their hopes up” because they don’t want to feel disappointed if the outcome doesn’t occur. Detachment then is a medicating tool. What is it medicating? Attachment!

It is far more useful to play in the moment, with curiosity, passion, wonder, and a sense of feeling drawn forward free of any attachment to the outcome – pure non-attachment.


Coaching Point: Without being attached to living like this, can you play with it?


Copyright 2014 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.