Non-attachment, detachment. It’s often seen as a Buddhist concept, but it appears, worded differently, in Christianity and probably most other spiritual traditions. It means many things. Generally, however, it boils down to divesting ourselves of attachment to anything outside ourselves as a source of happiness. And then divesting ourselves of our attachment to happiness itself.
I recently picked up a book on relationships and read the inside cover. The author’s take on successful relationships was that we should face the fact that we’re emotionally dependent on each other. Steeped as I am in the ‘wisdom’ of detachment, I found this bald statement a little startling.
It kind of makes sense though. Why else are we so drawn to connection with others? And what goes on inside that connection?
The ancient tradition of Tantra, trades on connection – two spirits meeting through the intimacy of body and breath. But this intimacy with another is a vehicle, a means of breaking through to spirit itself, also known as ‘life’, or ‘reality’, or ‘self’, or what’s traditionally called ‘god’. In Tantra, connection with others is a path to connection with self. Anthony de Mello put it beautifully:
“I enjoy your company immensely…I enjoy it on a non-clinging basis. What I really enjoy is not you, it’s something that’s greater than both you and me…a kind of symphony, a kind of orchestra that plays one melody in your presence, but when you depart, the orchestra doesn’t stop. When I meet someone else, it plays another melody, which is also very delightful. And when I’m alone it continues to play. There’s a great repertoire and it never ceases to play.” (Awareness)
I guess the trick is to trust that the orchestra will keep playing, particularly when there’s nobody else around. It’s a trick few people I know have fully mastered but it seems to be the cornerstone of non-attachment.
Any comments, opinions, agreements, disagreements?