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Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Moment of Detachment

One of the current theories about time is that it is like an illusion in that our mind wants us to think time passes in order to explain change. But, in fact, it might well be that time doesn’t pass at all, that every moment is eternal by itself. Every moment that ever was, still is, but goes somewhere else. Each moment is unique and doesn’t evolve into the next. That’s a theory consistent with what we’re hearing about with mediation. That’s a now a physics theory, a part of quantum mechanics. Quantum physics has no time, it is blind to it unless intentionally spliced in. So it cannot help you travel in time or save time or revisit a time.

The more you’re in the moment, the less you are worried because what people anguish about is not the moment they’re in but the last moment and the next moment coming. In this particular moment they’re worrying but they’re not worrying about this moment they’re just in it worrying— they’re worrying about the next. The more you live in each moment, the less that baggage is putting stress on you. Even done simply it helps a lot. Meditation is not so much of getting anything, as it is of letting go of something. I think that humans are in a constant state of flux, that we are definitely better people at some times than others. I know that I personally have achieved a level of maturity that I can live simply by releasing my attachment to the outcome, staying firmly rooted in each and every moment.

There are more advantages to being in the moment besides being able to decrease mind made suffering. Some of those advantages are: Clarity. When you are in the moment you have a much better focus and things flow naturally out of you. This is very useful in conversations, at work, while writing or while on the tennis court.    Calmness. You feel centered, relaxed and whatever you do you do more easily. Since you are not projecting into a possible future or reflecting on previous experiences there is very little fear holding you back. Positivity. Since there is little fear, there are few negative emotions when you are in the present. Instead you move around on the positive part of the emotional scale.

It’s easy to get stuck in a loop of old memories. You may want to move away from them but there is a feeling there that brings them back over and over. So you need to decrease the power that feeling has over you. And you don’t do it by fighting it. You do it by surrendering to it. The feeling is a loop within your mind that you are feeding with more energy by resisting it. When you accept the feeling then you stop feeding it and it vanishes. How? Say yes to the feeling. Surrender and let it in. Observe the feeling in your mind and body without labeling or judging it. If you let it in— for me the feeling then often seems to physically locate itself to the middle of my chest— and just observe it…  the feeling just vanishes. It is all about observing and releasing.

If you look at the whole thing from an objective point of view, these are just heuristics. Meaning, they’re just analytical frameworks or models of thinking that confer the greatest survival and replication advantage. The man (or woman) who is genuinely indifferent is probably that way because they have no fear of loss. Evolutionarily speaking, this is usually because they have a large supply of resources (connections, power, food, money, mates, etc.) at their disposal.

The Rolling Stones must have been philosophers when they said: “You can’t always get what you want.” And it’s true. But you can always reframe it as a positive. The next time you strive to attain something and don’t get it simply tell yourself: “That means nothing. If ANYTHING, it’s an opportunity to take my life to the next level.” This helps reinforce the idea that a situation’s result is only what it is— and nothing more. You’re programming yourself to be resilient rather than sulky when things turn out contrary to your expectations. In fact, what if you dropped your expectations all together? I’ve experimented with this and I have to say that letting go of your desire for results is hard…very hard! But there are some immediately obvious benefits such as people responding more comfortably to you because they sense you have little or no agenda (or at least, far less than the average person would possess).

Observe that reality is always subjective and notice when things work and when things fail and develop what I call “the detach game.” This is the ability to determine the most prudent course of action at all times based on your ability to let go of it. Think on your feet and whatever happens, don’t worry about the outcome. That’s when detachment becomes a powerful tool.

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