The Power in Nonattachment
We human beings can certainly be attached to being attached. We can be attached to our thinking and the way we believe people and circumstances ought to be. We can also be attached to the norms and beliefs of the groups and organizations to which we belong.
The difference between attachment, detachment, and nonattachment is very useful.
A characteristic of feeling attached is needing to have something “my way,” which fuels the fixed, win-or-lose mindset. Attachment invariably creates relationships frozen in the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) and its reactionary roles of Victim, Persecutor, and Rescuer.
Each DDT role has its attachments. If you are attached to being right or in control, you likely will be perceived by others as a Persecutor. The Rescuer role pops up when you are attached to fixing or taking care of the Victim or protecting them from a Persecutor. When in the Victim role, you become attached to…well, being a Victim, and blaming whoever or whatever you have deemed as the Persecutor.
The opposite of attachment is detachment and has the quality of “I don’t care.” When you are detached, you stand back, disengage, and sometimes have an aloof or “whatever” mentality.
Nonattachment, on the other hand, is quite different than either of the previous two. Nonattachment is the “middle way” in which you care and stay connected to what you want, while not being attached to a particular way something or someone must be or what the final form of an outcome looks like. As you seek to cultivate a life and relationships that are centered in TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)®, freedom and choice come from practicing nonattachment.
When you are fully present to the quality of nonattachment, you are open to letting something emerge that you are not directing or trying to control. This requires being willing to embrace “not knowing” how things will turn out. This is easier said than done because our personalities usually resist and want to be in control.
The personality only knows the past and attachment is based on prior experience and projected into the future. When you can allow for broader possibilities than those you are attached to, you start to appreciate different kinds of experiences and perspectives. The purpose of nonattachment is to eliminate the barriers in your mind that prevent new possibilities so innovation and creativity can emerge.
If you truly see and treat others as Creators, you can let go of your attachment because you know that they are ultimately free and responsible for the choices they make. You can be a Challenger or a Coach while leaving the power with them as they create outcomes and choose responses to their experience.
Here is a metaphor to illustrate the danger of being attached. What if a butterfly got attached to remaining a caterpillar? If the caterpillar is happy staying a caterpillar it might attach itself to the idea that it simply wants to be a better caterpillar. If it stays attached to only being a caterpillar, it won’t realize it soon it will be able to fly with a gorgeous pair of wings. Instead, it says to itself: “I can’t fly because I don’t have wings, so I will stay a caterpillar.”
As ridiculous as this metaphor may sound, there are all kinds of ways we can stay attached to what we know—or think we know.
As you let go of your attachments about yourself, other people, and situations, cultivate the power of nonattachment that will nurture your capacity as a Creator, Challenger, and Coach and put you on a lasting path of personal freedom.