The idea or concept of “detachment” as a spiritual practice has great potential for those who want to lighten their load a little – and we all have life-moments when we need to lighten the load, don’t we?
One way in which we are urged to practice detachment is to be non-attached to the “outcome(s) of our actions”. We are encouraged to “just do the work” and have “faith” that the results will work out for the best – for our best, and for the best of our communities, and for the world on the whole. In fact, one of the central tenets that I grew up with, came from the famous passage of the Bhagavad Gita
Your right is to work only,
But never to its fruits;
Let not the fruits of action be thy motive,
Nor let thy attachment be to inaction.
This tenet is said to contain the essential principle of disinterestedness or detachment. It encourages us to develop a natural tendency, while doing our work, to remain deflected from disinterestedness – particularly if we think of fame or fortune along the way. The tenet of detachment goes beyond that though. It encourages us to work with a perfect serenity – steadfastness in inner composure – indifference to the results.
Those who act by virtue of an inner law ate on a higher level than those whose action(s) are dictated by their whims and emotions. This is the true inner poise and self-mastery. It is the true conquest of anger, sensitiveness, pride and ambition. It is the true Yoga – a temperance that is fired by equanimity in “success” and “failure”.
As I reflect on detachment and disinterestedness, I feel that there is a “hidden benefit” to their practice. I posit that true healing can be ours with any practice that can help us achieve inner poise and self-mastery, equanimity and an attitude that remains unruffled. Yes, external stressors will always surround us, for that is the price that we pay for living in this world of ours. But we do not have to live of this world – like raindrops on a lotus leaf, we can dance lightly with life and the rainstorms that it brings our way. We can maintain our inner health, and even attain healing, by focusing on detachment and disinterestedness – which can lead to renunciation.
“Detachment is a plant of slow growth; if you pluck the tender plant to look for the pods, you will be disappointed.” -Sri Sathya Sai Baba
So, how do we actively practice detachment? What can we renounce – outwardly and inwardly – that can bring us to health, trigger healing within us? Can detachment and disinterestedness lead us to “escapism” and/or lack of “accountability? Is it not our "duty” to be engaged and interested in helping solve world problems – rather than be detached and disinterested? Do you believe that detachment is even relevant to you and your life?
I hope that if you have read this far, you are thinking a little bit more about the role of “detachment” and “healing” in your life. If you would like to share your thoughts, I invite you to share with the #SpiritChat community – in the comments below, or in our live twitter chat (login via http://www.tchat.io/rooms/spiritchat ) at 9am EDT (UTC-4, 1pmGMT) on Sunday March 9th, 2014.
P.S. Please note that due to the Daylight Savings Time change on March 9th 2014 (US clocks shift one hour ahead, from EST to EDT), #SpiritChat may occur one hour EARLY in your time-zone, at 1pm GMT. Thank you.
Here are the questions asked during the live chat. The answers are compiled in the storify summary. A full, complete transcript is also available at the hashtracking site (1239 tweets, 90 contributors, 6.4M timeline deliveries, 0.39M reach). Enjoy!
Ready? Q1. Detachment or non-attachment (the same?) - what does it look and feel like to you? #SpiritChat Q2. What are some inner consequences of not practicing non-attachment...? #SpiritChat Q3. Non-attachment to the "fruits of our actions" - is it important? Is it feasible? How so? #SpiritChat Q4. Detachment from thoughts and opinions - how could we accomplish this? What are the benefit(s)? #SpiritChat Q5. What kind of detachment can lead to 'outer and inner' #healing? Or can it? #SpiritChat Q6. "There is no detachment where there is no pain." Agree or Disagree? Why or why not? #spiritchat Q7. Desire (for worldly objects) creates attachment, creating pain. How do we break this cycle to 'heal'? #spiritchat Final Q8. To those who are wanting to practice non-attachment, attain healing, you would say... #spiritchat