Practice, non-attachment, and equanimity


Life is all about training and practice. Training and practice for what, or to become what? To be the best possible version of oneself, in whichever aspects one decides on in this life. Training and practice must be accompanied by discernment, a balanced and clear view of what it is, without a bond or attachment to both the pains and pleasures of life.

Abhyasa vairagyabhyam tan nirodhah
Yoga Sutra of Patanjali 1:12

Abhyasa means practice, vairagya means letting go, non-attachment, nirodhah means mastery, control.

One can gain mastery over oneself by consistent practice and non-attachment.

What does non-attachment mean and why is it so important? Isn’t attachment to something actually propel us, fuel us to do the practice? For example, let’s say it’s the attachment to getting likes or comments drive me to keep writing this blog. Then what happens when I don’t get likes, traffic, or comments? I feel sad. When I get likes, traffic, or comments, I feel happy. This means I’m not mastering myself, but letting outside circumstances affect me.

Besides pain/pleasure, attachment also means not being present – because attachment is always to something that happened in the past, or to something in the future. Non-attachment means presence in the here and now, not worrying about the past and not having expectations about the future.

Pain/pleasure, future/past, are like two polarities, and without mastery of our own self, we oscillate between these two polarities. If we continuously oscillate, keep moving between the two polars, it’s very difficult to achieve stillness, equanimity, shamata.

If there is no stillness, there is no silence.
If there is no silence, there is no insight.
If there is no insight, there is no clarity.
~ Tenzin Priyadarshi

So, without attachment to the result, why would one want move forward and do anything? What drives or fuels one to progress?

There’s an innate drive in everything in nature for creation, maintenance, and recycle (I prefer to call it recycle than destruction). Everything has this cycle. Birth, productive period, and then death. Symbolized by the Trimurti Gods: Brahman, Vishnu, Shiva. So as long as we’re alive, we have this innate drive to be productive, to progress, to grow and move forward, to contribute, to be of use, until such time that we have to move on and go back to where we came from.

Not utilizing this chance, this lifetime, to move forward and progress, is such a waste. Unfortunately most of us forgot about this, distracted by the sensual nature of the material world. Attached to the material things, we chased wealth, fame, power, etc.

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2 thoughts on “Practice, non-attachment, and equanimity

  1. Viagra means letting go. And, Nidoran means control. Got it. 😛

    It’s mind-bending to think of being anything other than driven or propelled by some form of attachment/motivation. All this talk of detachment sounds like taking the motion out of water. A river without gravity is a puddle without ripples. It goes nowhere. Yet, you say there is some secret, hidden motion of the cosmos that takes over if we can just still ourselves in these ways…mind-bending. Ohp, I said it twice.

  2. Detachment means being still, so one can flow with the river of life. Life is never stagnant, borrowing your analogy its like river flowing towards the ocean. The same drive that makes trees grow from seed, flower, bear fruits, and die, its the same drive for everything. I hope you have fun bending the mind :p

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