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Detachment is not Selfishness – It’s Actually what Unconditional Love Really Is

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For a few years now, I have studied and tried to understand the meaning of the word ‘detachment’ and I came up with the conclusion that it is synonymous to unconditional love. But how could that be when detachment is the absence of affection? Let me share with you the important lessons I’ve learned through learning and practicing detachment and how I relate it with unconditional love.

I first heard the word detachment from a friend I met on Facebook (yes, Facebook can be a place to meet spiritual and wise people). He once asked me “Are you detached?” and my 19-year old childish mind cannot even comprehend what the word actually means, and I am being asked if I were detached. I quickly looked it up on the Internet and according to Wikipedia, detachment is a state in which a person overcomes his or her attachment to desire for things, people or concepts of the world and thus attains a heightened perspective.

At that time, I admit I wasn’t even that close to being detached. But I knew I wanted to be. I was just beginning in my spiritual journey, searching for the ‘meaning of life’, so it was perfect timing.

After that, I searched for articles I can find on the internet about detachment and any written materials from teachers, gurus, monks, yogis and so on.

I noticed is that detachment or non-attachment speaks more about loving our Self, above others. At first, it sounded like selfishness. It can seem like that to people who refuse to embrace the idea.

From what I have read and learned, being detached means not being affected by whatever happens outside of my-Self. I am detached when I do not try to control other people and let them be what they are. This also means letting them feel their sadness, their grief, as well as their joys.

We do not wish for them to change; because we can love them just the way they are.

This doesn’t mean we don’t care for them. We just understand that they have their own journeys to make, mistakes to learn from, and experiences to have.

It sounds painful at first, especially if we want someone we love to stay safe and guarded. We think we know better so we tell them to live a certain way, act a certain way and be a certain way. We think we are showing love when we do this.

But controlling someone make them prisoners of our own fears. It stops them from experiencing the fullness of life. We lock them in our own cages because we think we are not fit to fly, so they shouldn’t try either.

Detachment allows us to love unconditionally by letting others be what they want to be.

This, in turn, allows everyone to be happy, fulfilled and living their life’s purposes.

I had the greatest test of my practice on detachment when my past boyfriend broke up with me. It hurts so much when he chose his booming career over our relationship.

I supported him on his decision, but it took time for me to accept it.

But knowing how detachment works, loving him does not stop when we broke up.

I can continue to love him, being happy with his accomplishments, knowing that he went after his dreams.

Being detached is letting the situation manifest as it will, without worrying about the outcome. When things go opposite of what we’ve planned, we don’t get angry or blame someone else for it.

We let things be, and we accept.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Anunda
    Jan 14, 2015 @ 16:44:23

    Detached with outside world attached to the invisible

    Reply

  2. Sreehari Prasad
    Apr 01, 2017 @ 18:40:07

    Was searching for some Buddha quotes and ended up here. And the post was really nice.
    Detachment always meant as a synonym of being selfish. But as you explained it well. Unconditional love.. Is everything.

    Reply

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