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Non-Attachment As A Spiritual Practice

Alison Fischer

Non attachment is practiced through various ways in different cultures and religions. Non attachment requires one to identify the ephemeral nature of life, experiences, emotions, relationships, personal circumstance, material possessions, jobs, and even health. 

Non attachment allows for deep involvement in life through the release of the illusion of security, release of the past, release of other's expectations and opinions, and release of fear for the unknown. It allows a healthy perspective on how to spend energy and emotion.

I was 8 years old when my health began to affect my quality of life and caused me to be home bound most of the year, my father and grandfather were both given terminal diagnoses which Dad miraculously survived, and our family company and family went bankrupt. Although I am now able to identify that it was still a privileged experience due to the generosity of friends and family, we lost our Grandfather, company, homes, and vehicles. This traumatic year led me to the basic introduction of non-attachment where I learned to evaluate who I was as a person and what I allowed to define me, spurring this lifelong practice.

This 23-year journey has been far from perfect, at times it has been nonexistent. However, I truly believe it has empowered me to endure trials of poor health and being misdiagnosed, death of loved ones, sexual assault, and unhealthy relationships. The practice of non-attachment has allowed me to define my existence by who I am as God's creation rather than by experiences, relationships, accomplishments, and possessions.

Through my practice of non-attachment, I have learned that who I am as a person is defined by my love for God, how this agape is reflected in my relationship with myself and others, and through my behaviors towards myself and others. I've learned that the only constant factors that are guaranteed to us in this life is God's abounding love for us and the grace that is graciously provided through living in Christ's kingdom. This journey has played a large part in answering my call to serve in the Episcopal Church.

Faith through the Anglican tradition and the practice of non-attachment share many similarities.  Non attachment teaches to serve others without any expectation other than to improve a situation. This call to serve is also reflected in our Baptismal Covenant. Both our understanding of Christ and the theory of non-attachment teach us to "be not of this world" and to love God and others with our pure hearts and intention with no expectation. Both call to not place importance on material possessions and the ability to be responsible with our privilege. Deep prayer, meditation, and mindfulness are necessary for life in our faith and in practicing non attachment.  I recite the serenity prayer throughout every day to help me keep a healthy perspective of how I choose to react to experiences and emotions.

So, my friends, I encourage you to "let that shit go" as they say and embrace non attachment.  The journey of life is much lighter when you do.