Learning detachment has been a very interesting journey. During my education I had lots of teachers who taught me the concept without knowing what exactly they were teaching me. It wasn’t until I learned meditation and yoga that I started to understand what detachment truly meant. Here is my definition: the ability to perceive the world fully, without hindrances, preconceived judgements, or expectations. It is essentially a cultivation of awareness that extends until Moksha, or liberation from Samsara.
Freedom is the ultimate goal of detachment. Freedom from suffering and pain, loss and sorrow. Freedom from the highs and lows of this existence into a pure bliss that will persist through any challenge or difficulty. This is the goal of the yogi.
I have concluded that in this life, attachment is necessary. We need things like family, friends, and siblings to support us in life, to ground us in reality and true importance. But at the same time that we draw strength and love from those around us, we must acknowledge that these people will someday expire. Their life will not last forever. This makes each moment more significant and beautiful, every detail of interaction becomes so utterly important. It is impossible to imagine living without love, without connection to family and friends; I do not believe that becoming a hermit and disconnecting with the world will create the bliss of enlightenment for anyone.
So let me clarify; attachment is necessary, but in order to truly appreciate our attachments, we must find ways to detach from them. This means we obtain the ability to truly appreciate the world around us and the people who comprise that world. Perspective, it seems, becomes the cornerstone for this appreciation. It also creates the space necessary to detach from our necessary attachments, when it becomes necessary.
Detachment from the material world, things, money, cars, planes, vacations is an required and absolute skill for the yogi. It allows for freedom within the mind from sorrow due to loss. But people even animals are much more complex. Attachment to living beings then becomes a systematic process in itself. Detachment and space become a necessary aspect of any relationship, because the individual grounds and roots in their own self, rather than those around them. With this space and freedom they are able to experience the joy of the world around them and the present moment.
I will give you an example. My favorite yoga teacher has left the studio where I work to pursue his dreams and his own prosperity. He will likely never teach at the studio again, which is sad for me because I love his teachings so much. They resonate with my soul. Being detached from this individual allows me to view the situation holistically; instead of being sad at my loss of his teaching I am happy that he is pursuing his own path of success, I am happy for the opportunity of growth that the situation will offer both of us. This is the benefit of detachment, to see opportunities in challenge, good in change, and love in everything. Perspective is everything.
I will offer that detachment is far more about perspective than hiding away in the Himalayas to wait for celestial light to drop upon your head. Leaving your culture, your family, your friends to explore the world will give you the ability to detach, as well as the perspective that comes with it. It is like a muscle that you need to flex occasionally, a skill that you hone with time and practice. Give yourself the room and it will grow 🙂
How do you detach in your own life? Do you find that it’s all about perspective or do other skills come to mind? Let me know what you think!