In conversations about spirituality, the ideas of attachment and detachment come up regularly. The motivation for practicing ‘letting go’ is that it can potentially help us with our progress on the spiritual path. The question is: how does detachment really help us grow spiritually?
According to the Indian sage Adi Sankaracharya, doing our work with an attitude of detachment to the rewards helps us purify our inner being or heart. It is when we purify our heart that we develop the burning desire to know the truth. It is when we want to know the truth that we develop the desire to work towards liberation. If we string together the pearls of purity, truth and an inner attitude of detachment, we can travel the path to liberation.
The path sounds so simple, doesn’t it? And yet, it is often so difficult to walk in daily life. We are constantly getting more and more entangled in the web of attachment woven by our actions. We share something on social media or write a blog post, and we immediately await the ‘reward’ of likes, shares, reactions and comments from others. We are incessantly subjected to a stream of advertising, marketing, and messaging that tries to deepen our fear of missing out on the latest activity or product that will make our life ‘better’.
We want to embrace simplicity and minimalism by reducing our impact on the environment, and yet our desires and possessions seem to keep on increasing. So, what can we do to reclaim our attitude of detachment in our daily living and actions? The Yoga practice of aparigraha – not grasping in any way – can help us reverse course. Aparigraha is a simple, two part practice. The first part is to work towards identifying and then freeing ourselves of our existing attachments. The second part is to turn our focus towards our internal world, which will automatically reduce our focus and attraction to the ‘shiny objects’ of the external world.
Our two-part Yoga practice of Aparigraha or developing detachment can be viewed as an invitation to live our lives in a non-clinging, non-acquisitive, non-transactional and non-possessive manner. When we reduce the transactional nature of our actions, we begin to notice more lightness, purity, and caring emerge in our heart. If and when we truly care about our fellow beings, then giving and sharing can follow. Sharing can create space for us to belong to each other and replace the desire to constantly transact with one another.
The sense of belonging can create a beautiful heart space. Loving detachment can bring us closer to that space. Working together, belonging and detachment can bring us closer to our divine potential. Let’s work towards that, shall we?
P.S. Join us for our weekly chat, Sunday June 27 at 9amET / 630pm India on twitter. We will talk about detachment and its practice. We hope that you can join us for our #SpiritChat gathering, and grow our circle of belonging. Namaste – @AjmaniK
Detached from each other, they bloom best in a shared sense of belonging – hydrangeas