The Embrace of “Detachment”

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.

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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.

Unconditional 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.

15 thoughts on “The Embrace of “Detachment”

  1. “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.'” Well said. I thin k it’s easier to think in terms of non-attachment and non-aversion. As you say, we can’t detach ourselves from others, but we can overcome the kind of attachment that limits rather than expands us.

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  2. This is beautifully written. I too read and think about attachment and how to manage it in a way that expands my self and does not limit. I love the way that you have interpreted attachment – thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Another post worthy of taking the time to drink in! Your blog makes me feel like I’m not alone in this place where pretend is taken for reality. And, the comments further confirm that there are others out there 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ok, so you’re a thinker. I’m not much of a thinker. My expressions are reflex, not thought. They are responses to myriad questions and situations that I have faced through the course of my bumpy existence. I don’t ascribe to the detachment in the way that you say; in fact, quite the opposite. I feel the need on a regular basis to cleanse myself of love, relationships, and material items. I know, according as I have read your work, that that is not at all where you are going with your creative writing piece, but as I said before, I am not a thinker but a doer. My words are reflex, not introspection and certainly not “ascending” or “transcending”. I’m not big on material or love, but on relationships, yes, basically in the friendship sense. Again, I am not a thinker, so I don’t really use flowery words or grande expressions. For my life from 6 to 19 I hardly ever spoke outside the home setting just because I felt that anyone who talked should have something important to say, nay, not important, world-shattering. My mouth finally opened as an LDS missionary, and I found myself when I had the name of Jesus emblazoned across my chest. Much of what I share in writing generally relates to my running, relationships, conversations, trials, triumphs, or failures. Rarely do I allow my thoughts to wander into thinking. Memory based on experience is probably my greatest asset. I hold on to a lot of anger and a lot of grudges due to the potency of my memory. That always helps out when it comes to writing. I am not a creative writer and have almost no sense of imagination. However, I am an artist, an expressive one at that, and not very bashful. My tongue knows no bounds. Any topic is fair game to me, as long as I can relate it to something I have lived. You probably wanted to meet a great thinker with great control over the powers and feats of thought, but I am not one. Rather, I argue that the brain was not designed to think but rather as a teacher to administer the science and art of memory and recall to the individual, separate, and distinct organs of the body. To me, the brain is only useful in terms of what it can offer the body. Of itself, it is nothing. These processes come in particularly handy in projects such as sex or running where the brain is nearly superfluous and can simply rest rather than work during such activities. I believe I can give my brain longer shelf life and the entire body in turn, by resting it more and more, depending more entirely on the bodily organs themselves to carry out necessary functions, even writing. It should be my organs’ memories penning these words and not my brain, and, verily, it is. I will never be detached, because the more I live, the more I entirely and completely “attach” to everything around me. It’s the over-attachment that produces problems and creates in me the need to “burn bridges” and remove material items from my life. I don’t know how that turned out. Was there something specific you wanted to ask or say?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed, you are very expressive and not at all bashful! 😉 Lots of food for thought here, thank you for sharing. You’ve given me a new frame. I like how you refer to ‘giving your brain rest.’ I liken that to being in the unconscious / subconscious “flow” – that state where you are not relying on your rational thought processes, but rather the automatic memory responses, as you say. Neuroscientists call these ‘flow states,’ and I think I think better in those types of states. Like when running, for instance.
      And indeed – the more anyone lives, the more attached they become to the world. But as you say, it is the ‘overly’ attached part that causes problems.

      Like

  5. Thank you for such a tought provoking post (and early in the morning for me). I often have conversations with my friends about this sort of thing. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I look forward to reading more!

    Liked by 1 person

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