“He who would be serene and pure needs but one thing, detachment.”

The Sword of Detachment

Everyone’s life is cluttered with obstacles. From the pangs of birth to the throes of death, we all encounter hurdle after hurdle. No sooner do we leap over one obstacle than we find ourselves stumbling over the next. Sometimes these situations are a mere nuisance while others appear so imposing that we sink dangerously close to despair. The thing that we can be certain of, however, is that we will always contend with them. 
What if we adopted an approach that would prevent the avoidable hindrances and, at the same time, improve our resilience in facing the unavoidable ones? If we could choose our hurdles and forge ourselves into highly trained hurdlers, how much peace of mind do you think we might gain for our efforts? Many of our personal obstacles are quite preventable since they are self-imposed. 
Every day we wrestle with situations that result from poor planning, faulty motives, negative thinking, high expectations, and low self-esteem. We habitually create negative conditions, and then angrily try to wrestle through them. 
We have all experienced meeting one of those rare individuals who seem to flow easily and comfortably through life. He appears charming, witty, confident, easy to be around, and seem to stride boldly into life and make everything go his way while the rest of us stand on the sidelines and curse his blessed life! 
Fortunately for me, while everyone, including myself, was muttering curses, I was also taking notes. I was certain that this type of individual possesses an emotional infrastructure or inherent logic that acts to filter away the very seeds of self-imposed obstacles. Whether consciously or intuitively, he is thinking along the path of least resistance long before he is seen walking it. 
Along the way, I began to isolate certain traits or modes of thinking that could be found almost universally among these “fortunate few,” that could also be integrated easily into my own life as well. I call this method the “Sword of Detachment”.
This acronym, S.W.O.R.D, represents the following formula:
Search without seeking
• Wait without anticipating
• Observe without evaluating
• Respond without reacting
• Detach yourself from the outcome

These rules for guiding the mind are essential to our success in the battle to clear our path and unclutter our reasoning. 
As a Reiki Master, I am well aware that “where the mind goes, the energy flows.” This energy flow is neutral by nature; when you focus on the good, that good is nourished. But, if you dwell on the bad, the bad is nourished. Cultivate the garden that you wish to grow. 
If we can agree in principle that it is the nature of energy to nourish indiscriminately whatever it is directed towards it would be prudent to carefully direct its flow toward those things that will best serve our being at every level. 
This discipline is referred to as “impeccability” by Carlos Castaneda, author of Don Juan and the Yaqui Way of Knowledge. 
In it, Castaneda individual, and that its efficient use is the most important element in determining one’s quality of life. The Taoists refer to this principle as “Wu Wei. The way of effortless effort,” 
Although they would challenge Castaneda’s notion of limited life force, the Taoists do recognize the crippling effects that result from blocked or stagnant energies due to poor habits or undisciplined behavior.
I have fashioned the principles of the “Sword of Detachment” with these considerations in mind. Being certain that the largest portion of wasted energy is the result of wasted effort; I have tried to isolate the mental factors that tend to serve us the least while costing us the most.

Search without Seeking
“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” Anonymous

To search without seeking simply means to approach each day and each activity without motive or expectation. 
By maintaining mental clarity mingled with a childlike simplicity, what we discover each day is what is actually there to be discovered. We relieve ourselves of the burden that comes from failing to discover what we seek. We prevent the discovery of something that is contrary to our hopes and expectations.
One of the most debilitating attitudes that we carry into the learning process is to speculate on what we are liable to bring out of the experience. It is this quality that turns “searching” into “seeking.” The motive of a search is to discover, whereas the motive of seeking is to obtain. Neither is inherently bad. 
The trouble arises when the expected benefit that we seek does not show up as anticipated. This can result in frustration and disappointment. It brings the tendency to blind us to any good that is actually there for us to find. 
If you enter each experience with the following question in mind; you will waste far less energy on frustrated expectations:
“Am I going into this experience knowing that I want to learn, or knowing what I want to learn?”
If the second part comes up as your answer, it might be wise to re-evaluate your motives.

Wait Without Anticipating
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
Anne Frank.

Nobody likes to wait. We are time-oriented beings by nature, always conscious of the restraints of our own mortality and though I say that absolutely nobody likes to wait, there are a select few who have learned to become quite good at it. The ability to wait with patience and dignity is an art form to rival the most advanced of martial or yogic arts, and when it is done well, the benefits are immeasurable. Now here is the tricky part…the benefits result by taking no interest in the benefits! 
This may seem paradoxical to most but there are clear psychological factors involved that confirm this notion. If you have ever attempted to ‘speed up the process’ while cooking or painting or writing against a deadline, the result almost always suffers from the rush. If you perch on the edge of your seat in anticipation of the desired benefit that is out of your control, you will invariably detract from the pleasure of the experience. Too often, we diminish a fine result to gain a fast result or even destroy the results altogether. A good motto to live by would be: “Desired results we can’t control are best obtained by letting go.”

Observe Without Evaluating
“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.” 
Arthur Conan Doyle

No good researcher would allow himself to evaluate preliminary data before gathering all relevant data and observing how all the various parts might interact. He knows that premature analysis can taint the entire process and ruin any chance for a meaningful outcome. 
Just as the press can quote a public figure out of context and thereby ruin his reputation, the observer can easily bias himself to his own observations. 
Every person holds opinions, but if you are truly seeking the truth, then opinions will become the enemy.

Respond Without Reacting 
“How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.”
Dr. Wayne Dyer

This concept is self-evident. To respond is an act of will whereas to react is an instinctive response {i.e. fight or flight.} 
Instinct was intended by the Creator to assist us in surviving peril, not to shield our ego or to impose our will upon another. Any action that is not preceded by at least an either/or decision or is clearly prompted by fear or anger is a reaction. 
Reaction is neither a choice nor a decision, it is slavery. Remember this helpful guideline: “To act is victory, not to act is liberty, and to react is slavery.”

Detach from the Outcome
“He who would be serene and pure needs but one thing, detachment.”

Meister Eckhart

Every man shares the same destination because we share the same mortality. Thus, life is about the journey and how fully we are able to experience it. We live, we love we fight, we reconcile, and we will live on to love ’til death does us part’. Thus, every outcome is nothing but a new beginning and not really an outcome at all. Clinging to outcomes does nothing more than launch bad beginnings. Outcomes are irrelevant and dangerous when they are valued. If we take our eyes off the path to search for mile markers that do not exist, we have missed all the action in a fruitless search for nothing. Enjoy the journey because that is truly all there is.