“Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves - regret for the past and fear of the future.” ~ Fulton Oursle

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Free Your Mind

Here is a small expert from a Buddhist view on detachment. It is always our attachments in life that cause us the greatest pains, miseries, and sufferings; such as:

·       The object of our desire that we cannot attain or keep, whether they be material possessions or otherwise.

·       Unrequited love.

·       The disappointment of relationships- family, friends, lovers.

·       Unmet demands of people or situations.

·       When things don’t pan out the way we wanted them to.

 The word and concept of detachment can be misleading, as it denotes being free of all things, possessions and relationships- when that is not the case at all. The concept and implementation of detachment releases us from our Ego and allows the freedoms of negative emotions that attachments always keep us in that constant state of emotional rollercoasters- somewhere between happiness and disappointment.


Question: What is the meaning of detachment?

Answer: The Buddhist meaning of detachment is slightly different from what the word normally means in English. Detachment in Buddhism is connected with renunciation. The word renunciation in English is also misleading, for it implies that we have to give up everything and go live in a cave. Although there are examples of people like Milarepa who did give up everything and live in a cave, what they did is referred to by a different word, not the word that is translated as "renunciation" or "detachment". The word that has been translated as "renunciation" actually means "the determination to be free". We have a strong determination: "I must get out of my own problems and difficulties. My mind is totally firm on that goal." We want to give up our ego games because we are determined to be free from all the problems they cause. This does not mean that we have to give up a comfortable house or the things that we enjoy. Rather, we are trying to stop the problems that we have in relation to these objects. That leads us to detachment.

Being detached does not mean that we cannot enjoy anything or enjoy being with anyone. Rather, it refers to the fact that clinging very strongly to anything or anyone causes us problems. We become dependent on that object or person and think, "If I lose it or cannot always have it, I am going to be miserable." Detachment means, "If I get the food I like, very nice. If I do not get it, okay. It is not the end of the world." There is no attachment or clinging to it.

In modern psychology, the word attachment has a positive connotation in certain contexts. It refers to the bonding that occurs between a child and parent. Psychologists say that if a child does not have the initial attachment to the parents, there will be difficulties in the child's development. Again, it is problematic to find the appropriate English word to convey the Buddhist meaning, for the Buddhist connotation of attachment is quite specific. When the Buddhist teachings instruct that we need to develop detachment, it does not mean that we do not want to develop the child-parent bond. What is meant by "detachment" is ridding ourselves of clinging and craving for something or someone.

VIA- http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/approaching_buddhism/introduction/basic_question_detachment_nonviolence_compassion.html


Richard said...

This is an interesting post and an interesting concept, and you offered a great explanation of how detachment isn't exactly what it sounds like. But it remains difficult to comprehend how, or whether it is really even desirable for, one to live detached and yet, at the same time, still have zeal and passion for life, such as being passionate about the Bull Dawgs whipping the Gamecocks! Thanks for sharing!

Ambivalent Relics said...

I agree there has to be a fine line of being too attached and being too far detatched. I think its about finding the happy medium that allows you to enjoy life to the fullest. If you fall too far to either side, there is so much a person ends up missing out on. This concept has definately helped me out quite a bit. Thanks for sharing your comment! Hope you have a great one!