Detachment From What?

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Kris has recently pointed out again that there is a big misunderstanding about the spiritual practice of detachment.

Most people think that being detached means no longer doing the things they like to do – think Lent, denial, and Puritanism. The subtext here is that pleasure is evil.

Turns out pleasure is one of the main drives of all existence and attempting to deny it eventually results in tyranny and rebellion, whether personal or societal. Ooops.

Kris has explained several times that real detachment is learning to release the things we don’t like but continue to create for ourselves for our own emotional reasons.

In a recent session, there was an exchange that gave new meaning and depth to this idea. The question was asked, ‘Why do people hang on to things even when their professed intention is to let them go?’

Kris’ answer was very illuminating. He said that people invest their understanding of who they are into various situations in their lives that sometimes end up being limiting. ‘I am a member of this family and we always do things this way.’, ‘This is who I have become and I have no choice now.’, ‘I am just unlucky!’, ‘No one must ever know!’

We don’t want to let go of these attachments because we continue to believe that they represent who and what we are. We don’t want to let go of our family, our history, our past, excuses that are working for us, and even our guilt.

If no one must ever know, that means our sin, and shame, and guilt is the worst ever, and this gives it some meaning that we can cling to in an otherwise meaningless world.

If we were to let go of all of that, who would we be? What would be left of us? If we’re no longer who we thought we were…  it’s unthinkable.

But, as Kris pointed out in that same session, if we are beginning to understand that we are eternal, immortal Spirit Soul, full of wisdom and bliss, why are we afraid of a little mouse?

We are more than any parts of ourselves we may have invested in various relationships, histories, struggles, or whatever has meaning for us in our present or past lives. Without taking anything away from the meaning and feelings of these experiences, we are WAY more than any of that.

For instance, because of who and what we are, it is easy for us to pull together, on a moment’s notice, any number of new stories wherein we happily honor our family, our history, our past, and even our struggles, without being bound or limited by them.

This is detachment.

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