The Art of Detachment
I was recently re-reading my well-thumbed copy of “Why People Don’t Heal And How They Can” by Carolyn Myss and was struck by a statement she made about the importance of detachment, especially as it relates to healing.
Ms Myss was talking about the spiritual practice of detaching yourself from the fears of the mind and “viewing your circumstances as an experience through which you are passing, rather than as one that controls your physical life.”
I see a lot of fear in the newly diagnosed breast cancer patients with whom I work and so to say that I am interested in finding good ways of helping them reduce their fear would be the understatement of the year.
The English language really doesn’t have a good word that accurately describes the state of detachment discussed here. If you look in the dictionary you’ll see words like indifference and aloofness, and this is nothing like what we’re contemplating.
I was just reading a really great article entitled “Detachment, Abundance & Success: Just Another Day At The Beach” on erniegray.com, and he had this to say: “A better way of describing detachment in zen practice is a detachment from outcomes in a state of positive being.”
Mr Gray went on to say, “This was understood by Jesus, and is a common characteristic of some of the most successful people you may encounter. To experience and enjoy a life of abundance, you must learn detachment from outcomes.”
Now I realize that cancer patients (having been one myself) are often attached to the outcome of their treatments because they want to live, perfectly understandable and natural.
One of the places I like to go and offer help is an online cancer forum put together by the American Cancer Society, it’s called “What Next”. One of the forum participants was responding to a newly-diagnosed cancer patient who was having a good deal of anxiety and exhibiting more than a little fear. She responded with something like “Well, all you can do is your very best to get rid of the cancer. And even if you fail, you get to go and be with our Lord in peace and harmony” and I thought about that a good long time. Now THAT is true detachment to an outcome.
Why To Practice Detachment
Carolyn Myss, for those who don’t know of her, is a very wise energy healer (among many other things) and she had an interesting statement to make about detachment and healing. She said “Reaching a detached state of mind for even five minutes a day is so valuable that it can infuse your body with the equivalent energy of six months of living in genuine hope.
If you’ve been reading my blog articles, you will know that I am passionate about the power of the mind to heal. Genuine hope is such a powerful healer that without even knowing it, the cells of your body are working toward a more healing path every moment that you exist in that state.
In her book, Ms Myss offers an exercise to help you uncover your negative, limiting beliefs and replacing them with more positive, healing attitudes. Grab a copy of this book and see the chapter titled “Igniting the Healing Fire Within”. If you are struggling with your cancer diagnosis or are suffering from recurrences or metastases I highly recommend this book, it is filled with so much incredible knowledge of healing and offers the reader some compelling lessons on how to heal themselves.
The practice of detachment can take years, so don’t feel bad if you can’t get there after only a few days of trying. If can take a lot of effort to release your attachments and place all things in your life into a healthy, rational perspective, and recognize the need to back away from the uncontrollable and unchangeable realities life sometimes offers us. Well worth the effort though!
Another resource is Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong site, where I found an excellent article about developing detachment.
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