Detachment and Being Detached
By Remez Sasson
Detachment is an inner state of calmness and being uninvolved on the emotional and mental planes. It is definitely not indifference. People who are indifferent, do not care about anything, and are not active and initiative. On the other hand, people who possess emotional and mental detachment can be very active and caring, though they accept calmly whatever happens. Such people accept the good and the bad equally, because they enjoy inner balance and peace.
If they cannot do or change something, it does not disturb their peace of mind. If they are convinced of the importance of some action, they will pursue it whole-heartedly, and can ignore distractions easily. If they succeed with what they do, that is fine, and if they don't, they will either try again or forget the matter and move to something else.
Count the number of times you got emotionally involved in something against your will and better judgment. How many times have you got angry, frustrated or disappointed? How many times have your moods swung high and low? Each time you tell yourself that next time you will stay cool and calm, and yet each time you forget what you said.
When it comes to personal affairs, it is hard to stay emotionally uninvolved. You get involved, and this is quite natural, otherwise life would have been boring. Involvement makes life ticking and active. However, it is advisable to develop at least some detachment, as this will help you in many situations.
Detachment is important in daily life, in the pursuit of ambitions and on the spiritual path. It is important to everyone, whether pursuing spirituality or material success. Every spiritual tradition speaks about detachment, but detachment cannot be confined only to spirituality.
Let me give you some examples of detachment. Suppose you meditate, but thoughts keep coming into your mind. You get emotionally involved with your thoughts, follow them and forget about your meditation and concentration. If you could express detachment, it would have been easier to ignore the disturbing thoughts. Detachment would have helped you to stay collected and concentrated.
What happens when somebody says to you something that you do not like? You will probably become angry, unhappy or insulted. Why is this so? Because you value other's people words and opinions more than you value your own thoughts and opinions of yourself. You let other's people thoughts, words and actions influence your happiness, actions and reactions. Your happiness and actions depend on them.
On the other hand, if you are able to stay detached, you will not be disturbed. You will stay calm. You will even be able to benefit from what they say. You will not waste hours thinking about their words.
Have you ever thought, how much time and energy are wasted every day, brooding on useless thoughts and feelings, due to lack of detachment? Much of the anger, frustration, unhappiness and disappointments are due to lack of detachment.
One of the ways to develop detachment is through meditation. In meditation, one endeavors not to follow the thoughts and feelings that arise. Meditating day after day, develops the habit of staying calm and emotionally detached, not only during meditation, but also in everyday life.
If you practice any kind of meditation, sooner or later, you will start to experience detachment. You will find that you feel and behave in a different way under circumstances that previously raised anger or agitation. You will find that you can handle your daily affairs of life in a calm and relaxed way.
Real detachment means inner strength, and the ability to function calmly and with full inner control under all circumstances. A detached person is not harassed and hurried, and can do everything with concentration and attention, thus insuring a successful outcome of his actions.