Non-attachment and Commitment

mindset Sep 14, 2021

Abhyāsa vairāgyābhyām tannirodhah.

This is yoga sutra 1.12 from The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and its message is practice and non-attachment - showing up and doing the work of the practice of yoga, the work of life, of being present, without attachment to the result.

That tends to be really difficult for a lot of people. 

We think, “why in the world would we practice something if we’re not going somewhere?

If there’s no goal? Or how do we not be attached to the fruits of the thing that we’re working towards?”

But that is the practice. Yoga tries to teach us that it’s not always about the end goal. If it’s always about the end goal, we’re going to do it for the end goal, and we need to be doing it for the process. It’s in the process, in the repetition, in the showing up that we learn about ourselves, that we clear out the bullshit and start to find some clarity and some peace. 

Yoga is about much more than the physical postures, much more than the breathing exercises, it’s about seeing yourself more clearly. It’s about seeing the world more clearly. It’s about knowing how the stuff in your mind is constantly impacting your experience of the world. All the practices of yoga are about quieting the mind. It’s about stilling those wild thoughts so that you can be with yourself, you can be quiet and still, and see the world as it is, and see yourself as you are - not the way that you have come to think that you are. 

This sutra often reminds me of the concept of commitment, specifically the way it’s discussed In the world of transformational leadership. I’d always thought that commitment meant only to follow through with the things you’ve agreed to do, but there’s a much wider concept of commitment that I’ve only recently discovered.

We are always committed to something. 

We are either committed to seeing ourselves clearly, committed to our growth, to transforming our lives, to seeing possibilities, to making the impossible possible, to be creative, to connect with other people, OR we are committed to the opposite: to our smallness, the impossibility of things, committed to disconnection, being alone, having things be hard, committed to being right. We are always committed to something. 

So my question is, what are you committed to?


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