I’ve been ruminating lately on the concept of ‘detachment.’
In the past, I’ve taken issue with this esoteric mandate that one needs to detach oneself from oneself and all worldly things and loved ones, as this is the only way to be enlightened. Or to see God. Or to ‘ascend’ or ‘transcend’ reality. Or the myriad of other metaphysical endgames out there.
I have always had a recurring feeling that this definition is not wholly correct. I felt that it was erroneous to think that ‘detaching’ yourself from others and the world was the way to wholeness.
God, by nature, cannot be detached – far from it! He/She/It is within everything, everyone – no exceptions. So isn’t this idea of detachment pushing a ‘separation’ agenda? This didn’t sit well with me, as I’ve always felt all separation is an illusion.
But looking back, I see that I was focusing more on the meaning of ‘detachment’ in the literal sense – emotionally and spatially – than in a figurative sense. Held back by the confines of language once again.
Now I have come to see that achieving the end goal of ‘detachment’ has nothing to do with literal separations. Instead, it has to do with shedding our conscious ego; giving up expectations, attachments and aversions. That part of ourselves that likes to put things in boxes.
Detaching from the ‘Self’ of the conscious brain so we may integrate ourselves more fully in our vast, all-encompassing true nature. The higher, universal ‘Self.’
You can still feel emotions and love – indeed, strongly! – while also recognizing and not taking personally these ephemeral situations, thoughts, feelings and people that pass us by on a daily basis. Difficult to accomplish, yes, but not impossible. Just being in the flow of the moment.
In essence, I feel that ‘detaching’ is not some kind of separation – it is a recognition. An embrace.
A deep, wide understanding that we exist beyond ourselves – in as such, our conscious ‘Self’ can become quite meddlesome. Which is why we are advised to think beyond just our own little paradigm of life. To ‘detach’ from the brainy prison of our own vantage point and look further.
My honorary grandfather Mel wrote this lovely post which discusses the terms ‘attachment’ and ‘aversion.’ Letting go of your attachments of expectations or situations, but also letting go of your aversions to certain situations and feelings.
Seeing these terms spelled out was an eye-opener for me. When thought of this way, giving up ‘attachment’ is in no way suggesting that you should not care for others or feel compassion. Quite the opposite, really. It is actually encouraging compassion by putting aside your own biases on outcome and expression.
You cannot see the world or others clearly until you have worked to put aside and recognize your own cultural, personal, and spiritual agendas. Once you can do that – then you are wide open to receive things as they are, without judgment and total love.
Before reading that post, I had never thought about the equal importance of giving up aversions. They are the same thing as attachments, just in the opposite swing. By giving up expectations that revolve around the aversion of certain outcomes, expectations, and feelings, you remove roadblocks of guilt and personal preference. You pave the way for a clearer vision of the world and open the door for love in places that you may not have loved before.
By no means have I mastered any bit of this, but in my past posts where I expound on boxes of cultural constructs, pre-determined values and the illusion of separation, it is plainer to me than ever that this is what I am trying to do.
To see beyond the attachments and aversions of the personal ‘Self.’
To remove the locks and curtains of cultural expectation and personal preference, so that I may open the window wide to the non-judgmental and unclouded observation of the universal ‘Self.’
The embrace of unconditional love to see things as they really are.
And in doing so, I think we will feel far from “detached” – we will feel as one.