Let there be Peace and Love among all Beings of the Universe.

THOUGHTS ON DETACHMENT

by Paul Hourihan

We are attached to everything. Everything we hear or see we tend to react to—must like or dislike.

Or: we have certain expectations from someone or something. When they are not fulfilled, we are disturbed.

ATTACHMENT!

We often ask: what is wrong with life anyway … with people, with the way society functions? We look for some interesting answer that will satisfy not only the intellect but the ego as well.

The answer: attachment (and of course the egotism of which it is the chief expression). A product of ego, attachment in turn strengthens the ego that makes karma possible.

The saint has no more karma because the karma-producing power—egotism—has been dissolved.

We start to make inroads on that power by reducing, controlling, understanding, displacing … attachments. Self-centeredness breeds attachment. Abandon self-centeredness and non-attachment is there at once! For example, if you take the attitude of a servant and protector to others—at once you are non-attached because the ego is forsaken.

__________

Attachments prevent Vision. Do you crave attachments? Very well. You cannot then have Vision, God-Knowledge, or Enlightening Experience. It is a crucial equation, making it very clear what is to be done. You might protest: “But I don’t want illumination just yet. I want success in certain worldly undertakings, and for them I need some attachments.” No! Attachment is to the mind as opium is to the nervous system. We cannot temporize with it.

But doesn’t Detachment mean “coldness”? No! Serve and help others, but be detached in the doing! Love and comfort them—but be detached in the doing.

In the world, Detachment or Non-Attachment is prized in the judge, doctor, editor, teacher. Think of how Detachment is necessary for them to do their work in a fair and effective manner.

Detachment is the proper garment for a soul. Are we souls? Greedy men, sensual men, angry men, ambitious men—none are detached! But sages, wise men, men of Truth—the image we have of them is of many things, but Detachment is always present. God is detached. If you wish to resemble God, practice Detachment!

The Spirit, the Light is detached! Yes, we agree—but we are not the Spirit, we are human, troubled, many-sided creatures who can hardly conceive of Detachment, not to speak of practicing it. Not so. It is true, we have two levels—the temporal and the timeless, the worldly and the other-worldly, the mundane and the idealistic, etc. But the temporal, the limited, the worldly is not our true nature—the proof being the misery that accompanies our identification with that level, and the peace that accompanies our identification with the other.

No. We are that Spirit itself manifesting here. Since Detachment is the natural mode of Spirit in its own sphere, we are to reflect the same tendency, and attempt the same reality.

With no attachments, there are no resentments, angers, cravings—no contentiousness—no reaching out of the mind with anxious tentacles to achieve some egoistic purpose in the world.

Anger, greed, and the other Deadly Sins are Attachment. Attachment means pain, misery, bondage, and death. Non-Attachment means freedom, happiness, and life!

How to Practice Detachment?

  • Deaths, grief, disillusion, and defeat can produce temporary Detachment. But it can be systematized through spiritual practice by keeping a current of prayer or mindfulness flowing through the day—with others, or alone—so that you are not caught unguarded.
  • Be independent. Success in the simple areas of life enables us to do this, e.g. checking the tendency to gossip or to idle curiosity, which nourishes the tendency to attachment. Deflect inquisitiveness! That is one of the classic ways attachment begins—nay, is by then well under way. Catch it in its early stages. There is satisfaction in knowing, but more in not knowing, more in renouncing the impulse to inquisitiveness.
  • Also: move slowly, deliberately [the Zen approach] as an exercise in an area that may be easily controlled. Yoga exercises also help in this way. They give us Detachment from the body.

Practice Detachment as though you had a Serious Illness called Attachment that needed constant moment-by-moment attention, such as a back problem.

Literally so. For, of all spiritual virtues the one that leaves us cold when first we hear of it is … Detachment! Why? Because we hear of it with a mind that is, of all things, mostly attached; of all conditions, its chief and abiding condition is Attachment. That is the disease.

That is why we are irritated to hear this practice being urged upon us, and why we immediately object piously with: But what about serving humanity? As noted, we function much more effectively if we work with Detachment, whatever the work is.

Everything is first accomplished in the mind. Even God or the Divine you are going to realize is first depicted, and conceived in the mind! When observing or listening or responding to anything our tendency is to become attached. Our attitude is always in error. Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment …*

The solution: All is unreal (according to Buddha)
All is God (according to
Vedanta)

Detachment can be first achieved, glimpsed and intuited in meditation. In meditation we recreate the world in its new image—then in spiritual imagination enact it. We see ourselves honored, tempted, pressed, threatened—and conducting ourselves well… in a spirit of self-control, discrimination, and Detachment.

Further, the practice of meditation of itself, as taught by a qualified teacher, leads directly to Detachment.

The same world that binds us shows us how to be free: it is our own mind—mixing in the world—that both binds and frees.

Sources: http://www.vedanticshorespress.com/Feature%20Articles/feature-article-Detachment.htm

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