Release attachment

UNIVERSE WITHIN by Gwen Randall-Young

Forever is composed of nows.

– Emily Dickinson

According to Buddhist philosophy, there are two major causes of all human suffering. The first is attachment and the second is the inability to accept change.

Attachment is when our wellbeing is dependent on things being a certain way. We can become attached to people or possessions and be devastated if we lose them. We may be attached to success, popularity or looking a certain way. Addictions are an extreme form of attachment, but there is likely an addictive component to all forms of attachment.

The inability to accept change is related to attachment. We like things the way they are and experience great discomfort if things change. This does not refer to change we have initiated ourselves, but rather to change that is imposed by others, or by fate.

The reason that attachment and the inability to accept change create so much suffering is because, in this world, change is a constant. Nothing stays the same. So if we become attached, sooner or later we will have to let go. In the meantime, a lot of energy can go into maintaining that attachment and we experience anxiety at the thought of losing it.

Of course, this suffering is all the work of ego. Ego is that part of our awareness that gets so caught up in the story of life, taking on the roles of producer, director and lead character. Ego has an idea of how the script should unfold, and so becomes invested in how others, including the universe, play their parts!

Things will not always go according to ego’s plan, but generally ego is not a good sport about it. Think of a football team. The coach has a plan and the players are trained to execute that plan. However, they have little control over what the other team will do, who will fumble or be tackled, or even the field conditions.

A professional, sportsmanlike team will not spend a lot of time blaming others or making excuses for what went wrong. Instead, they look at what they can do to improve their performance and their ability to handle the opposition. They then begin to focus on the next game. They do their best, but there are no guarantees.

Life is much the same. We have our plans, hopes and dreams, but there are no guarantees. Somehow though, it seems harder to view our lives with a degree of detachment. Imagine watching a football game and cheering for your home team. It is so easy to get caught up in the game, feeling elation or disappointment. Now imagine watching a movie in which there is a football game. You know it is not a real game and so you watch with interest to see how it will unfold, but without the same attachment.

This perspective is similar to that of our soul. Soul knows that whatever will be, will be. Soul can already fast-forward to the end of our time here. It does not necessarily know all that will happen, but it knows that much of what aggravates and absorbs ego is ultimately of no consequence.

When we tune into soul and really grasp that perspective, there is a sense of peace and release that floods the body/mind. We can relax, surrender and watch how the story of our life evolves. We know without a doubt that everything is in a constant state of change, as are we.

We become centred in the core of our being, rather than in things outside of ourselves. We know that even if everything will not always be okay, we can still be okay.

We cannot know the future, but we can know this present moment. Be fully present, perceiving what is here. Release moment after moment and embrace each new moment as it comes. We are not destined to suffer just because we are human. We have the remarkable ability to choose. Choose peace. Choose bliss.


Gwen Randall-Young is a psychotherapist in private practice and author ofGrowing Into Soul: The Next Step in Human Evolution. For articles and information about her books and “Deep Powerful Change” personal growth/hypnosis CDs, visit

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