My dear friend had recently ended a very long relationship. She went through turmoil of emotions, from pain and anger to sadness and disappointment. And finally, after that long roller coaster ride, she is happy now. Happy and free. And when I say free I mean detached from all of those emotions ones attaching her to her ex. She even felt a bit guilty for detaching as much as she did. For not having any emotions besides a wish her ex finds happiness as well. ‘’Is this a bad thing?’’ she asked me. I smiled.
Some people never bounce back from a painful experience such is a brake up of a long term partnership. Some scars never heal and, even many years later, we let the experience influence our lives. We let the fear stop us from a chance to love again. Taking that step back and clearing your space for new possibilities, like my friend did, is not a bad thing. It is brave, hard and a smart thing to do.
One of the central concepts in Buddhist philosophy is detachment. Attachment is what leads us to suffering. This attachment to our believes, our thoughts and emotions, but also, or even more so, to our systems, social status, family patterns, material things, our loved ones.
When in a intimate relationship we make ourselves believe that the object of our desire, love or affection is what makes us happy. Thus, if that object is taken away from us we suffer. We cling to concepts of time, love and effort we have ‘’invested’’ in a relationship and feel anger when all of that is taken away. We tend to attach to past, live with our learned ways, following old patterns over and over again, clinging to same thoughts, old loves. It is easier and more familiar that way. Let’s face it – most of us are afraid of change. And yet changing state of all things is the most natural state of all.
Practicing detachment is not easy. But, we can start with small things. Sometimes just getting rid of old clothes and making space for new ones is a good step. Giving away something we believe is valuable to us. Rethinking our old believes and admitting that we have changed and evolved is a big step. Looking into social or, closer to home, family patterns and detaching from them. It is our duty to ourselves to find our own truth.
Detaching from a loved one is a hard step to take. But, when we come to the end of the road and we need to go our separate ways, no matter what lies ahead, the only way we can find out is if we keep on going. Standing still, looking over our shoulder and waiting will get us nowhere.