A Fresh Perspective: Detachment and Tolerance
By Lama James “Jim” Harding
Detachment and Tolerance. These are two qualities which can be cultivated in ways which can help to make lasting, positive changes in a person’s life.
Detachment is a state of mind that allows you to stand apart from and impartially observe your own thoughts, and emotional reactions. Aspects of your life which you’d like to improve, your interactions with people and experiences, are seen from a fresh perspective.
Detachment allows a person to discover practical, sensible solutions to problematic situations they’re facing which might not otherwise come to mind. You learn to control your own thinking and reactions and not have them control you.
Negative streams of thought can be put aside and dismissed as the obstacles to progress that they are:
- Unproductive resentment, regret and anger can no longer have control over your thoughts and actions
- Habitual responses to people and events, with time, can be seen understood and replaced by conscious, reasonable decisions made in the present moment
- Priorities and criteria can be reassessed and adjusted, resulting in real change in a person’s life as they move forward
Many problems people face are the result of unwise reactions in the past to people and circumstances. By taking some time every day to quietly notice your thoughts and emotions, you can remove your conscious mind from the distractions these things can bring. You are then able to be aware and present in the current moment, unencumbered by them. Past mistakes won’t be mindlessly repeated. Responses to the words and actions of others can be more practical and sensible and not cause unnecessary problems. Your motivations and intentions can be calmly re-appraised and it can then be much easier to know how to proceed from there.
The quality of Tolerance is an attitude that can develop along with detachment. The ability to better discern what is and is not truly important allows your responses to be less reactionary and more beneficial overall. Thoughtless people, people who are rude, etc. can be handled in a much better way than might have previously been the case. Overlooking the faults and ignorance of others means not letting them get under your skin. Not overreacting to negative people avoids future problems and regrets. Tolerance here doesn’t mean letting people walk all over you, it does mean keeping a balanced perspective, so then situations might be reasonably resolved and further insight into your own position can be seen. Things can be different and better from then onward.