If you are stressed about the outcome of a situation, feeling pain and/or anxiety when you think about obtaining a goal, or generally feeling frazzled, overly excited, or drained when you think about the future, the chances are that you are mentally, emotionally, physically and/or spiritually attached to one desire or more, and this is the cause of your suffering.
Attachment to desires, in most cases, requires a much greater investment of energy and time than is required for even the fulfillment of one’s greatest missions and goals, and this attachment can rob you of your overall peace of mind, productivity, and the enjoyment of your moment-to-moment experience as well. This means that you will not only be wasting precious time and energy when your mind is attached to your desires (clinging to getting them, or to getting them in the way that your mind has been seduced into/by them), you will also be creating a space within and around yourself where you will generate unnecessary pain during the process of attainment as well (if you ever pursue or fulfil your desires at all due to the suffering caused by this attachment).
When one is attached to his/her desires, he/she lets this attachment take away from the satisfaction of having and fulfilling that said desire (or to not pursing or fulfilling that desire at all if it is not ideal for him/her to do so, or if there is something better to be received and/or created). This is because that person will worry, obsess, or generally spend a great deal of energy and time trying to pursue the thoughts in their minds, and react to the feelings in their bodies, that arise from clinging to impressions of, and that are related to, their urges. This internal energy-drain takes away from efforts that could be best spent taking actions to attain what is desired to begin with.
Instead of focusing useful energy toward a desire for something, or being content with, and enjoying, the inspiration/existence of any given desire, clinging to, attachment to, and grasping for desires creates unnecessary tension and anxiety in the mind and body that are not conducive for effective brain functioning and decision making, and this creates persistent suffering for people with attachments to desires (so much so that one may not even enjoy the fulfillment of their desire if it is ever attained). When this tension is present, it takes away from the internal resources that could be spent simply making appropriate plans toward the fulfillment of an idea, or towards taking actions from an informed and inspired place towards the fulfillment of a plan. When one clings to desires, he/she cannot benefit from the energizing effect of the presence of these desires, but instead feels exhausted by their attachment to their desires in the form or either positive or negative expectations, fear, and so forth.
Non-attachment to desire, therefore, is not a mere philosophical, ideological, or spiritual sentiment; it is a practical prescription that frees up more energy for us to effectively achieve our goals while simultaneously, and ultimately, becoming the greatest versions of ourselves in the process.
Always remember to remain present in your now moments so that if your desires are for things, people, places, personal accomplishments, and so forth, you most effectively take advantage of the fact that the future is always unfolding from your present place of existence. Focus on “what is” and on where you are right now, and on whatever actions are required within your power, right now, to implement in order to achieve your goal, whether it be letting go of a desire altogether if that desire is not ultimately useful, healthy, or moving you in the direction that is best, or whether it is to become unattached to the attainment of the desires that you do choose to pursue (with discernment) by dropping expectations, fear, or general clinging.
If you are present with your desires, you can most effectively focus the right amount of energy toward their accomplishment, and, therefore, be most likely to succeed in their fulfillment.
Neither the pursuit, or attainment (or lack of attainment), of our fulfilled and unfulfilled desires brings us pain.
Only our attachments to our fulfillment, or lack of fulfillment, of these desires creates disappointment, emotional suffering, guilt, anxiety, regret and/or any number of other unproductive feelings. This is why, even when pursuing the goal of self-realization itself (the ultimate aim of our Yoga practice), it is important to remain unattached to the path, the journey, and the outcome of the fulfilment of our desires as well.
What Does Non-Attachment Mean For Those Who Are Striving For Samadhi or Enlightenment/Self-Realization?
When working toward the fulfillment of your desires and goals, always remember that your journey is just as important as your end result in life. In fact, because your journey is a part of your goal, and self-mastery is one leg in your foundation toward achieving this goal, the journey itself is a tool and an avenue for your ultimate enlightenment. When you walk your path without attachment, you become single-focused, and spend your time and energy on the “right” things that get you closer toward your goals as opposed to wasting time on irrelevant concerns and pursuits.
Conserving, increasing, fine-tuning, and effectively using your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual energy is the best way to ensure that you most effectively grow, develop, and accomplish your goals. And the best way to do these things is simply to remain unattracted to unnecessary thoughts, words, actions, objects, people, places, desires, and so forth, in the process.