Why Non-Attachment is my Key to Happiness


As you may have been noticing over the last few months and weeks, I’ve been experiencing a shift of perspective.

Even though it’s a pretty dark time where I am (in more ways than one), my mind continually gravitates back to an idea, well perhaps it’s more of a mindset, that non-attachment really is the key: to freedom, to joy, and to happiness in life.

In the past, I’ve written a bit about being non-attached when you travel, but I think that’s only the tip of the iceberg for what that mindset can do for you. I’ll say it again: non-attachment really is the key to freedom in life.

Of course, Buddhism has had this idea at its core since the beginning. But you certainly don’t have to consider yourself a buddhist to apply this idea into your life.

Take this video, for example. In the episode below of Beach Walks with Rox (incidentally, one of my favorite podcasts), Rox talks about what motivates us in life, but more importantly she addresses the foundational beliefs in us that result in our actions in the first place, suggesting that life is much more enjoyable if you look at it as a playground, a place to experiment. It asks: if you had a worldview where you didn’t feel you needed to prove anything to anyone, how would you live?

Even if you feel like you don’t have anything to prove per se, looking at life as a playground is a beautiful attitude to step into. So go ahead and watch the short video below, and then I have a surprise for you. Watching the video really helps you tune into her energy as she explains the idea, too.

Go Play, Experiment, Grow

Starting to feel what I’m getting at? Life is too short to spend it feeling like a victim or feeling powerless. You have the power. Use it to play and experiment in life. I’ve been saying a lot about how nothing is guaranteed anymore. That’s probably related to certain shifts that are going on in my own life right now, but it’s also incredibly true. It only takes two words to lose your job: You’re fired. It only takes two to lose a relationship: I’m leaving. And it only takes one bad accident to lose your life entirely.

I don’t mean to sound morbid here—only to remind you how fragile things are. Everything that allows you to read these words right now relies on dozens of servers all talking to each other, your computer having power to interpret the data, and your eyes being able to focus on the words. (Not to mention your eyes interpreting the 1017 photons entering your eyes per second.)

It truly is a small miracle that you’re even reading these words at all, and I am deeply grateful to have the opportunity to serve you today.

But ultimately, it’s all temporary.

Eleanor Quote This is why the concept of non-attachment rings so true to me. It is in alignment with reality, and the more in alignment we are, the less suffering we experience. Compared to what we traditionally encounter, it represents a profound change in outlook and attitude. Earl Nightingale used to say that “attitude” was the magic word. And once you really, foundationally, realize the transientness of all you can see, it has the power to affect your attitude in incredible ways.

And remember, life’s transientness also means that you have a powerful affect on what your life forms into, as well. And on this point, I believe Eleanor Roosevelt said it best:

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

 

I’ve been asking myself that a lot lately, and the pieces are finally coming together.





How to Use Your Mind to its Full Potential: Tap into the Thoughtsphere


The more I write, the more I realize that a great many of the ideas shared here are not of me, but come through me.

And when ideas strike, I know I have to jot them down as quickly as possible (such as right now). That way, I can capture the essence of an idea before it moves onto someone else (because of the thoughtsphere, which I’ll get to in a moment).

To do this, sometimes I’ll make a quick and dirty outline without letters or numbers (a technique I’ve found to be profoundly useful in quickly organizing my thoughts). Combined with being diligent about jotting down ideas whenever and wherever they occur to me, I’ve found that ideas begin to flow in an effortless way, almost as if they aren’t originating from my mind at all.

Thoughts are Things (Seriously)

The reason this works, although you may have trouble accepting it, is that human thought isn’t merely confined to our minds. Thoughts are indeed “things”, at least of a sort. And they have a marked influence on an environment, especially when the same environment is repeatedly exposed to similar thoughts.

For instance, have you ever visited the home of a messy artist? What about a Japanese Tea Garden? Or perhaps a scenic waterfall along the edge of an ocean?

Didn’t you feel something different about the place, perhaps from somewhere in your stomach or head? Cutting edge scientific studies are showing that thought energy itself has the ability to change the flow of energy in an area. Thoughts can block the flow of energy, leading to a feeling of suffocation or staleness, or they can free it up, lending to feelings to freshness and relaxation to place.

The best part? It isn’t confined to a single location, either. When a thought is generated in someone’s mind, it ripples out into its surrounding environment, similar to how a low frequency whale song wave can travel hundreds of kilometers in the ocean. The brain is indeed a transmitter and receiver of thoughts, and the more we come to understand the brain, the more we will see evidence for this.

The Thoughtsphere

Now, consider this: the average person has thousands of thoughts per day, and there are now over 7 billion people on this planet. When you consider these facts, you begin to realize that the sum total of all of this activity is immensely complex. And for the purposes of this article, I have dubbed this global web of thoughts the Thoughtsphere.

One intriguing piece of evidence for the existence of the Thoughtsphere lies in the realm of invention. Many inventions, including the radio, and the telephone, and even paper, were invented simultaneously in different places… at nearly the exact same time. It has been shown that these inventors didn’t know each other, yet they manifested the same ideas. This is not mere chance or a case of simple plagiarism (multiple studies have ruled this out, especially in the case of paper), and the more we study this phenomenon the more we’ll realize that our brains are more similar to transmitters and receivers than we ever imagined.

Get ‘Em While They’re Hot

No matter what you create, I encourage you to cultivate your ability to listen to your instincts. Listen to what’s coming through. Allow the positive thoughts and ideas around you to inspire you. Focus on them. Perhaps you’ll be stuck by an idea that inspires you. Wonderful! But remember, if you don’t make a note of the idea when it strikes you, it will leave you or its time will pass. I can say this from experience.

If you don’t act, sometimes another person will get the same idea and do well by focusing that idea into reality, possibly profiting well from it. This world has a lot of noise, and consciously recording important inspirations and thoughts when they occur is the best defense against this noise. All it takes is a pencil and a notebook. Or, if you’re geeky like me, an iPod.

In fact, I’ve been reinforcing this habit for so long that it’s automatic for me. Whenever an inspiring idea pops into my mind, I write it down immediately. And if I can make it an automatic habit, you can do it, too.

Why not start today? All it takes is a bit of discipline, and the rewards have come to me in many forms: visions, travel ideas, and timeless stories. Isn’t it worth installing a new habit to be open to that?