How to Practice Non-Attachment

How to Practice Non-Attachment

“I love you, Son, too much.”

I’ll never forget these words my earthly father spoke to me. I was a teenager about to take a trip abroad to Europe. While he was expressing his love for me, I knew it was love with attachment. Quite simply, he feared losing his son.

Who hasn’t been fearful of losing a loved one especially with the pandemic over the last few years? How do we move from attachment that clings to people, places, and things to the attitude of a divine being who is free in his heart and loves all equally with non-attachment?

In The New Path, Swami Kriyananda relates some of his guru’s wisdom on non-attachment:

‘You don’t have to own a thing to enjoy it,’ Master (Paramhansa Yogananda) told us. ‘To possess things is all right, provided your possessions don’t possess you, but ownership often means only added worries. It is much better to own everything in God, and cling to nothing with your ego.’
Smiling, he continued, ‘Years ago I visited Radio City Music Hall in New York. Having paid the price of admission, I told myself, ‘While I am here, this building is mine!’ I walked about, enjoying my beautiful acquisition. When I had enjoyed it as much as I cared to, I gave the building back to the management with thanks, and walked out a free man!’


Not only does Yogananda share the attitudes of non-attachment but he also gives us meditation and kriya yoga that help us break our attachment to the body and self-limiting definitions. He said the breath is “the cord that binds the soul to the body.” In his chant, “Desire My Great Enemy,” there is a mystic key to the practice of non-attachment:

Desire, my great enemy, with his soldiers surrounded me,
Is giving me lots of trouble, oh, oh my Lord,
That enemy, I will deceive, remaining in the castle of peace
Night and day in Thy joy, oh my Lord
Control the little Pranayam
Become all pervading Pranayam
You won’t have to fear anything anymore.

When we can control our life force and live in the joy of God “night and day,” we are free of attachments and fear. “You won’t have to fear anything anymore.” What joy!

Think of a wide receiver in American football. He can’t receive (catch the ball) if he is holding onto another object. Similarly, we have to let go of our attachments to be free in our hearts. Then we can receive the “Hail Mary” of God’s grace. This includes all layers of our ego onion (good, bad, indifferent, projections, attractions, repulsions).

Currently I’m experiencing a big test in non-attachment. Dharmadevi and I are moving from Los Angeles to Ananda Village to serve through Crystal Clarity. One can speak of non-attachment, but to actually practice it is where (to quote my earthly father again), “The rubber meets the road.”

How do we truly practice non-attachment?

What I’ve discovered is, I can’t do it on my own! It’s only through Divine Grace that relaxed acceptance in the heart comes where we can truly let go of attachments and their concomitant fears. When we do, we find the joy of God fills our life night and day.

In inner freedom of Heart,
Nayaswami Narayan

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