Quote: “Detachment, in its most authentic and sincere sense, is the natural result of seeing things more clearly.”
Gosh, I enjoy so much doing private sessions. Not only are they such great inspiration for writing and content ideas, but they also fill my heart with so much deep appreciation for Life and being human.
For tomorrow’s live video on the “Holding Space for Love to be Seen” Podcast, I want to dive into the subject of “Living a Beautifully Detached Life.” That means, today, for the Monday inSight Letter, I’m going to share some thoughts about this topic.
Attachment vs. Detachment
To put it simply, “to be attached to something” means to draw one’s sense of identity from that thing. Conversely, being detached means recognizing that the “thing” cannot tell you who you are and releasing the thing from the burden of solidifying your sense of self.
Naturally, the “thing” can refer to another person, an object, or a circumstance from the past, present, or future.
Before we go much further, let’s establish that the play of attached and detached carry equal value. We discover the beauty of detachment because of our experience of attachment, and when detachment is genuine, it gives us the freedom to allow and enjoy the play of attachment.
The last thing we want to do is demonize attachment, which is only to curse one side of the coin.
The Beauty of Attachment
Attachment is an important part of human development, much like a child nursing breast milk. However, at some point, our growth invites new forms of nourishment. Periods of attachment are not only valuable in early development, but also in later stages of our lives, where attachment plays an essential role.
We can see attachment as the in-breath and detachment as the out-breath. Both are necessary for Life to be sustained.
Attachment helps ground us in our human form and create important social bonds. Without this play of attachment, we would be even more lost. Additionally, attachment is an important element of the beauty we experience. We could also say that it’s a doorway into experiencing our first tastes of love.
When it comes to identity, attachment marks the beginning of experiencing some sense of playful identity. It is where we develop, in part, a healthy or unhealthy ego structure. This ego structure is a necessary aspect of the human experience and helps us navigate our journey.
The Disaster of Attachment
The disaster of attachment is similar to the disaster of only having the in-breath. Without the out-breath of detachment, Life doesn’t flow very well. We end up holding our breath, and it feels like we are going to die. Furthermore, I’d suggest this pain that comes with holding on to the in-breath indicates that it’s time to breathe out.
As such, the pain that will eventually come with attachment is simply an indication that it’s time for detachment. Just as we learn to naturally grow through our human journey, making sense of ourselves and the world, we also learn how to detach; even though we might not use that language. Another phrase for learning about detachment is learning how to let go.
Another disaster of attachment is in our judgment or rejection of attachment. Comically, this only shows an attachment to detachment, which illustrates the futility of trying to escape the reality of attachment in our human experience. For myself, seeing this just invites me to relax and be open to the possibility that Life knows what it’s doing. I find it a bit silly to assume that Life made a mistake in the unavoidable play of attachment; maybe, it’s perfectly placed.
The Beauty of Detachment
To use one of my favorite illustrations, playing a board game, detachment is when you recognize that the points in the game don’t really say anything about you at all. In recognition of this, there is both profound freedom and relaxation that emerges. We are invited to drop any sense of seriousness and return to the simple sincerity of enjoying the game.
Sure, there will be times when we recognize the points are not real, and that might scare us, especially if we’ve lost a dream of fearfully holding on to those points. In one sense, there’s a part of us that deeply wants the points to be real. Yet, in the same breath, there’s actually a deeper part of ourselves that wants the truth that they are not real.
You see, there’s the illusion that the points matter, and the illusion looks really real. Because it looks real, we assume it might be real, and in that assumption, we naturally fear the loss of those points. It’s this fear of loss that drives the holding on; however, the fearful holding on is the same as not breathing out.
Detachment, in its most authentic and sincere sense, is the natural result of seeing things more clearly. Detachment isn’t something you do; it’s something that happens naturally and effortlessly as the result of being more honest about your experience.
The Disaster of Detachment
The disaster of detachment can be found in our trying to detach, which often just becomes a pretending to detach. This “pretending” is similar to the concept of spiritual bypassing, a concept that I’m not a huge fan of because of how it’s so commonly projected onto other people.
This disaster is also like the disaster of trying to breathe, which is exerting some sort of forced control over breathing. Again, there is the assumption that breathing is up to you, and it’s something you just do and maintain. Rather, there’s the invitation to release the breath and let it happen naturally. If you assume that breathing is up to you, your breathing will become agitated and unnatural; you’ll be pretending to breathe, with a fear of not doing it right.
If I’m playing a game while pretending the game doesn’t matter when I secretly believe it does, this creates a double agitation; I’m stuck, I can’t dive into the experience, and I cannot be released from the experience. Again, another form of holding my breath. If the points in the game matter to you, then have that experience and let them matter; dive in. If you genuinely see that the points are illusionary, then dive into that realization; release. You might even find here an in-and-out breath, a cycle, where you dive in and then release, dive in and then release.
Conclusion: How to Attain Detachment?
“How?” is the wrong question. It’s like asking, “How to be spontaneously authentic?” Any strategy to be spontaneously authentic is to no longer being spontaneously authentic.
What I’m inviting to be seen here is a full embrace of both sides of the coin. Beautifully, if we can see the inherent value of both sides, the subsequent relaxation that emerges helps us to allow for a natural flow that inevitably leads toward detachment.
For myself, here are 3 things I find incredibly helpful for inviting a healthy detachment.
- A natural curiosity that watches myself attach to that which is not real (imaginary points), without any form of judgment.
- Allowing myself to enjoy the beauty of attachment, which is like being the author of a beautiful human love story; while also seeing that… it’s a story.
- When I see that I’m painfully attached, I invite myself to see that I’m attached to my “thoughts about the something,” rather than thinking I’m attached to the something “out there.” My attachment is really an attachment to the mind’s content; I’m not really attached to anything in the world.
Again, I’m not trying to detach. Rather, I’m in a state of self-inquiry, which is a willingness to be more honest with myself about the experience I’m having.
Seek first the truth, and all else (Love, Compassion, Freedom) will be given to you.