Yoga Mail

By Roy

Our modern social structure provides us a harmonious opportunity for an economic welfare that is in tune with each of our capacities and temperaments. We have the freedom to carve our paths towards a desired career or build our own businesses and platforms to enjoy a livelihood. Whichever the choice, the tasks and responsibilities are unique in their own ways. 

Let us see how we can make “work” a process within our management and command rather than enslaving ourselves with work that is seen as a burden. Most stress is created in the worksphere of an individual because of the mental unrest that is created over a series of unconscious responses.

A recent survey from Korn Ferry, “Workplace Stress Continues to Mount”, examined this trend. Disturbingly, the survey indicated that overall working stress levels “have risen nearly 20% in three decades”. At a more personal level:

  • 76% of respondents said workplace stress “had a negative impact on their personal relationships”.
  • 66% have lost sleep due to work-related stress.
  • 16% have quit jobs because stress became too overwhelming.

Examining these and taking the right actions are crucial to all those who were affected because we may have become victims of such scenarios. Life-saving can begin with our own lives, by restructuring our work attitude. The wondrous enhancement of technological development has given us access to the most of communication means ever in human history. Yet, with fast internet and smart devices, why is there a mass decline in mental, emotional and physical health?

Our senses are continually fed with mass information around the clock, with social media feeds being the core of our mental and emotional triggers. This ongoing mental agitation also affects the body.

The attitude we command plays a fundamental role in the outcome of our work environment, families and society altogether. Taking charge of work is not an external process of managing people or tasks. The very culture of work is to be reengineered towards understanding that we can function with ease to do tasks beyond our conscious capacity by elevating our awareness.

The idea of detachment in modern world

Within the domain of the mind there is a potential for steady performance and continuous growth. However, unlocking this potential is not done by signing up for a one-time workshop, reading self-help books or attending meditation retreats. A deep-rooted philosophy and active lifestyle commanding such philosophies in daily living is necessary. One such simple idea is to understand “detachment”. What is this idea of detachment?

Attachment is an attraction, or a like, which we express in many different ways to people, situations, possessions and definitely in our own projections and expressions.

In fact, we do not know how to live without attachment. Self-development philosophies define these concepts as a condition that can either create some form of attraction sensory, sensual, emotional, intellectual, subjective or objective – or some form of repulsion: like and dislike. This is the concept of attachment in a nutshell. It is the human tendency to identify with, to link up and to relate to something very intimately from a very personal point of view. We cannot develop objectivity in this situation because we are constantly projecting ourselves.

Working is stressful for most due to the identification with most of these mental tendencies and the inability to dissolve it efficiently as we progress to the next level. A simple negative criticism from a colleague can affect one’s mood throughout the day. Maybe a dispute in a discussion wasn’t in favour of us, and was deposited to our mental bank of stress and unrest. Detachment is a very strong word. Our understanding of detachment is to repulse something to which we are attached or attracted to. This is where the negative qualities of the human mind come to the surface and make a person insensitive and self-centred.

Reactions that happen due to the influence of such negative individual traits can often lead to discord and disharmony.

Accepting instead of avoiding

The attitude of work that brings success is to not avoid situations in life or even in yourself, but learn to accept the existence of the things that are around you. Once you have accepted them and know their nature, then it is possible to become non-attached. The word “non-attachment” does not really exist in English, but it exists in yogic philosophy in the form of a lifestyle practice – meaning to be free from attachment, without rejecting anything. It represents a state of mind that is continuously observing the nature of events and is unaffected. Non-attachment can easily be developed, provided we can expand our awareness to see the reality behind things.

Once we are working on something, the possessive qualities of our nature and ego will manifest. Sometimes that attraction can be positive, sometimes it can be negative. We have to look at things from their positive as well as negative aspects. When attraction is negative it is limiting; when attraction is positive it is freeing. It gives a different vision of things. Now we have possibilities of making more choices with a mind tuning in with the right attitude.

Positive attraction is known as non-attachment or detachment, or acceptance of situations without reacting negatively to them. This is not a philosophical statement but a very practical one.

We tend to run away from discord. We do not have the strength to plant the seeds of love where there is absolute discord. What is the state of mind at that time? It is not detachment or attachment and it is not a reaction. It is acceptance of a condition as being real. Discord and anger are real so what is the use of reacting against them? The moment we react we are creating a process within ourselves which recognises the negativity, and the moment that happens, our mind, nature and behaviour are affected by that impression. Our past impressions and memories bring up the corresponding negative emotion and we project anger, frustration or discord more so than they actually are.

So, non-attachment is a state of mind which is sharp of mental discrimination. In fact, we can even call it the right attitude of work – having the ability to discriminate and act accordingly. That is the universal concept of non-attachment from various self-development, spiritual and philosophical schools throughout the world.