Vairagya is a Sanskrit term that means being dispassionate or detached. Vairagya does not mean uncaring; it means unaffected by the things you care about. Understanding this duality is one path to being at peace with what happens around you. So what does vairagya mean, and can you ever hope to achieve it?
We are emotional beings. We have to be. Our emotions keep us alive. Your emotional brain has a reaction time of 18 milliseconds. Just for perspective, a second is 1000 milliseconds. You can tell how quickly your emotional brain responds to events and circumstances. But the speed comes with a problem. Often, you are reacting purely from an emotional state, without the ability to exercise discretion. Do you really want to get angry at everything, or, frankly, do you want to be happy about everything?
Vairagya is the ability to choose.
Experts say there are several stages to achieving this state. The first is the awareness and effort to recognise that you do not need to react emotionally to everything that occurs. Every situation does not require an emotional response. Also known as Yatamana, it is your struggle or effort to recognise and act that starts the process.
The next step is to separate your thoughts from the event. You could think, but every thought need not be linked to the event. You can dispassionately separate your thoughts and the event and analyse both without rushing to judgement or action. This is also known as Vyatireka.
The next step is to exercise control over how your senses respond to events and your thoughts. Do your nostrils flare, does your breath quicken, does your heart pound, and does your stomach churn each time something occurs and thoughts flood your mind? Or can you regulate the physicality with which your body responds to life? It may surprise you, but you actually have a choice. Control over the autonomous is the skill you are after. This phase is also known as Ekendriya.
Finally, all your organs and senses are now fully under your control. You can regulate the way they respond to your desires and will. You have detached yourself from events and circumstances, and you are still there, regardless of events. This stage is also known as Vasikara. Most of us will never make it here. But that should not stop you from trying.
Ritesh is the author of The Amazing Health Transformation and the host of TheRiteshBawriShow. Follow me on instagram @riteshbawriofficial and on twitter @rbawri