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May all find the teacher within to guide oneself towards unconditional love and peace

Thursday, November 11, 2010

How to stay detached in any relationships without intentions and expectations?

A question came to me after the yoga class. A student asked how do we stay detached in relationship and how to not having any intentions and expectations in the relationship?

The simplest answer is, simply by not having any selfish intentions (reasons) to be in the relationship and let go of any expectations (conditions of wants and don't wants) from the relationship or from the people who are in the relationship with us. Let the relationship being what it is, not because we want it to be the way that we want it to be, but to accept it as the way it is at the present moment now, from moment to moment. Everything will change due to impermanence. Allow changes to happen and accept the changes as it is.

We will be in disappointment and frustration if we have selfish intention for us to be in any relationships, such like want to have some friends to be there to share thoughts and feelings with us and to be there for us when we need help and support, or want to have a life partner to help us to fulfill our own ambitions or cravings to have a family and children, to share financial and responsibility matters, or want to escape loneliness by having one or many companions, and etc. This is incorrect mentality engaged with selfish intention to be in relationship with anybody and this will only bring us and the people who are in the relationship with us lots of tensions and unhappiness.

We will tend to have expectation towards the relationship and the people who are in the relationship with us. We expect something good and constructive from being in the relationship, such like having somebody there to listen to us, to support us, to share with us, to love us, to appreciate us, to agree with us, to pamper us, to make us laugh, to make us happy, to chase away the loneliness and emptiness in us, to attain intimate care, personal attention, support, respect, reliance, sense of self-worth and meanings of life existence, and etc.

We also expect the people who are in the relationship with us to be trustworthy, to have certain type of personality, to be nice to us, to love us the way that we like it to be, to be there for us whenever we need help and support, to be there to listen to us and share with us, and to be agreeable with our thoughts, actions and speech.

When the relationship and the people are not up to our expectations, we will be so frustrated, upset and unhappy, especially when they don't treat us or behave the way that we want it to be.

This is because we don't really love the people who are in the relationship with us. We only love the image that we created for them or projected onto them that comes from our own mind. We only love the things about these people that reflect what our own mind and ego like about. We are looking for satisfaction that comes from fulfilling our craving for love, care, intimacy, attention, companionship, approval, agreement, respect, appreciation, praise and support, which we hope to get from the people who are in the relationship with us.

We are actually fell in love with the people's thoughts, actions and speech that are agreeable with what our mind likes and dislikes. If the people say and do things that are agreeable to what our mind likes about, we will be delighted to be with these people and are attracted towards the personality and characteristic in them which we like. We thought that we have fell in love with these people, but actually we are just falling in love with the things or the qualities that we like about them. And all these things and qualities are subject to impermanence and changes.

When all these things changed into something that are not agreeable with what our mind likes, and are no longer the same as it used to be, we will stop loving these people and will have dissatisfaction, disappointment, frustration and unhappiness in us. Sometimes the qualities in the people didn't change, but our own mind's likes and dislikes had changed. We don't like the things that we used to like before and are liking something else.

We are only in love with the things that we like and want. We don't really love the people as they are, and accept them as they are at the present moment now, from moment to moment. Such like if we love so much about somebody's appearance, physics, personality and the way that they present themselves, and we will be so disappointed and frustrated when all these things have changed into something else that are different from what it was and that we liked.

We always look at the qualities in the people to determine whether we love them or not. If the people say things that we like to hear, do things that we agree with, and treat us the way that we want it to be, then we will "love" these people. And when the people say things that we don't like to hear, do things that we don't agree with, and didn't treat us the way that we want it to be, then we will not "love" these people anymore.

This is not love. This is selfishness. We only love ourselves for what we like and how we want to feel. We are looking for some sort of satisfaction that come from the relationship hoping that it will chase away the discontentment in us. Or hoping that it will fill up the incompleteness in us to make ourselves feel more complete.

True love is unconditioned and unlimited. It is accepting and loving the people as they are, how they are, where they are and what they are, at the present moment now. We love them as they are, whether they treat us the way as we want it to be or not, whether the things that we like about them have changed into something very different or not, and whether they say and do things that we agree or not agree with.

True love is out of compassion, not out of selfish intention. It is without attachment, without expectation, without craving and aversion. It is not influenced by what the ego likes and dislikes, wants and doesn't want.

We need to be selfless to know what is love.

We need to be truly compassionate to know how to really love ourselves and love others unselfishly.

When we complain about the people whom we love, that they don't love us, we should ask ourselves, do we really love these people? Or are we loving the qualities of what our mind likes about them and are in love with the perfect image of the people that we created for them, and are having selfish expectations towards these people of what they can give us and how they should treat us or behave the way as we want it to be?

If we truly love somebody, there won't be any disappointment and dissatisfaction, even when these people don't love us at all, don't agree with us, are not in a relationship with us, don't like us, don't support us and don't care for us. We will still love them unconditionally, without possessiveness, without judgment or expectation.

Only when we know how to love ourselves and be compassionate towards our own self, able to accept ourselves as we are and forgive our own imperfection, then we will know how to love other people unselfishly, unconditionally, unlimitedly, and will be ready to be in any relationships that will flourish and bring positive progress in our personal growth and spiritual evolution.

All relationships are there to help us to learn about our own self of who we really are and how to accept ourselves and other people as we are, at the present moment now, from moment to moment.

It doesn't matter if the relationships turn out to be very sweet or turn out to be very sour and bitter. We will learn the greatest lesson in life existence about what is unconditional love, selflessness, compassion and non-attachment. Relationships are like a mirror for us to take a look at our own self. We will see our own self in the relationship about whether we are pure or impure, whether we are selfish or selfless, whether we are patient and tolerant, whether we are compassion, and whether we are free from craving and aversion, judgment and expectation.

When the relationship is sweet, we appreciate it without attachment, without craving and clinging. When the relationship is sour and bitter, we observe and accept the truth as it is without attachment, without aversion and let it go peacefully.


Real relationship does not build on the intention and expectation of hoping that the relationship can satisfy our endless craving for love and satisfaction. It is not based on what our mind likes and doesn't like, what our ego wants and doesn't want. It should be free from any selfish intentions and expectations.

Without intention, we give and share. Without expectation, we give and share. Without discrimination, we give and share. Without selfish desire, we give and share. Without attachment, we give and share. Like the sun, the air, the water, the earth and the space. All relationships should build on these selfless compassion, and not build on what the ego wants and doesn't want, and are not being influenced by the craving and aversion in the mind.

Non-attachment doesn't mean that we don't get into any relationships and keep away from everybody, or retreat from the world, or don't care for anything.

It is about being in the relationship without judging ourselves, the relationship and the people who are in the relationship with us, and not let the relationship to determine our confidence and happiness. Knowing that true confidence and true happiness are not coming from any relationships nor attaining all the names and forms in the world. True confidence and true happiness is there when we know who we really are and when we know the truth of what is real and unreal.

It is about being in the world but not being disturbed, nor affected, nor influenced by the world.

It is about not being attached to whatever our mind perceives through the senses of what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think.

It is about not being attached to what our body can do and cannot do. Not being attached to the condition and limitation of the physical body. Not being attached to the state of the mind. Let the mind be the mind, we are not the mind, the mind is not us. We are the awareness that is witnessing, or knowing, or being aware of what the mind is experiencing at the present moment now.

It is about non-identification with the doer of the actions of giving or receiving.

It is about intention-less and non-expectation.

It is about selflessness and compassion.

It is about non-judging and non-comparing.

It is about being at the present moment now, letting go of the past and the future. Not to let the past experiences or memories and the future imaginations to influence us about the present moment now.

It is about letting go of the selfish ego and letting go of fear and worry. We perform all our duty and responsibility without expectation for the fruit of action but surrender to the universal consciousness to take care of the result.

It is about knowing the truth and are able to accept the truth as it is without judgment, comparison and expectation, without craving and aversion.

May all be happy whether being in a relationship or not being in any relationships at all. The most intimate and important relationship in this life existence is being comfortable with our own self. When we know how to be comfortable with our own self and are compassionate towards our own self, then only we can be comfortable in any relationships with other people or animals, or have a harmonious relationship with nature or with everything else in the entire universe.

When we are comfortable with our own self and accept ourselves as we are, then only we will be comfortable being anywhere, doing or not doing anything, and be comfortable with everyone and everything in the world.

At the end, there is no relationship at all. Relationship dissolves when there is no more separateness of us and the entire existence of names and forms. Everything and everyone is not separated from "us". There is no more craving for love. There is no fear and worry. There is no bad beings or good beings. There is no more loneliness or emptiness. We are full and content. We are love and peace.

If we know what is performing all actions towards ourselves and others without intention, without expectation and renounce from the fruit of action, we will be free from the binding karma of cause and effect, birth and death.


Be happy.

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About Yoga

Know thyself. There is no existence of 'I'. Everything is impermanent. Be free, be peaceful, be happy.

Om shanti

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Pantai Cenang, Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia
My husband and I run ongoing yoga retreats in Langkawi Malaysia. We teach traditional Hatha Yoga - a combination of Asanas (postures) and Pranayama (breathing techniques) and relaxation, that has given benefit to millions of practitioners over thousands of years. Our yoga studio is situated in Langkawi. We also run yoga retreats in Europe and India.

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