Detaching Expectations

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2011

Assumptions eat into relationships like acid corrodes metal. Slowly, insidiously, the damage occurs, continuously, from within the sanctum sanctorum of the most sacred relationships. Assumptions fuel thoughts and thoughts create perception. Then the inevitable translation of thoughts into action results in words and behaviour. And then the explosive counter behaviour is sparked and the rest is history! Arguments, fights, harsh words, sulking, separation and hurt; these are all the toxic wastes that pepper the landscape of the most loving relationships. Root cause of trauma Our relationships run into stormy waters time and time again when anger and ego dominate. The root of both anger and ego is attachment.

This is a pernicious malady that ruins not only love but also lives. Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita that attachment to objects, thoughts, feelings and people guarantees total destruction. Indeed it prevents the attainment of the objective of life as a human being, namely, liberation and union with the Lord. Attachment sparks possessiveness which in turn generates anger, jealousy and a host of toxic thoughts, feelings and words. Detachment is the antidote to attachment. This sounds like indifference and disinterest. But its not! In fact its an entirely different concept altogether! Detachment means to filter out all the toxicity from the attachment; with possesiveness, anger and jealousy eliminated what remains is pristine love, sparkling and pulsating with Divinity. Detachment is to realize the Unity and Oneness with the other, indeed with all creation. Meaning of Detachment The key to detachment is to understand the meaning of attachment. When I believe and say “you are mine and therefore you must live and act in the manner I want and if you dont I will be hurt, angry and abusive and will always assert my rights over you” that is attachment. So, I imprison you in my expectations! Your behavior is subject to my control and approval! That is a recipe for disaster because no one can live by the standards, codes and expectations of another. Human beings are by definition autonomous and independent. To bind a person in our expectations is to shackle him and suffocate him. Wont a person who is bound or being choked struggle to free himself ? What if we are bound and suffocated by the expectations of our loved ones ? Will that not put us under enormous pressure? At the end of the day each of us must let go the expectations we have from others. All we can do is to love and give without expecting anything in return. That is the path to freedom from anger, stress and hurt. We can then accept what is given to us as a kind of bonus, with gratitude and humility. We can be free and unfettered because we expect nothing! So detachment is actually detachment from expectation. Only if we do that can we live and love completely. The alternative is to burn with disappointment every second of our life. The choice is ours: do we wallow in pain or do we savor the harmony, happiness, freedom and fulfillment that detachment promises?

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