Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Detachment and Non-Attachment are not the same

Detachment is non non-attachment.
I have noticed that the word ‘detachment’ is often used when referring to vairagya. Personally, I feel that it is not the right translation, in fact, I feel it is the exact opposite of what vairagya means. Detachment gives a sense of being separate from something, like a door that has become unhinged from its frame. Although I do not think that any one English word can perfectly and completely express the full meaning of vairagya, the translation that comes closest is probably ‘non-attachment’. 

Non-attachment means that one does not cling to or try to grasp onto something. It does not imply that the ‘thing’ - mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual - is a separate entity, quite the contrary. The more one meditates, the more one understands that there is no such thing as a separate entity. In fact, the more one meditates the more one becomes an integral part of the universe, hence, the total opposite of detachment. Detachment can lead to apathy, dullness, cynicism…all emotions that blind us from the Light within. The more one meditates, the more caring one becomes, the more one feels the pain and suffering of those around us, the more one feels the joy in the Universe’s/God’s sacred Breathe and Light.  

Take, for instance, a river. It cannot exist without its two banks, one on each side. The river does not attempt to ‘detach’ itself from the banks. It does not delude itself into thinking that it has gone ‘beyond’ needing the two banks because it would cease to be a river without one of them. Hence, it flows freely, caressing each bank, yet, not attaching itself to them. The river is one and the same with the banks and all that the banks are connected to, yet, it does not try to cling to them. It flows. We should be like the river; one and the same with everything we come into contact with, directly or indirectly, without trying to grasp onto anything. We should strive to do everything at the best of our ability without being concerned with the so-called outcome. There is no outcome. Non-attachment is one of the most important keys to Bliss. This has become very clear to me through my own experience.