Spiritual detachment is a phrase everyone is bound to hear eventually when they decide to venture down the spiritual path but what is spiritual detachment exactly?
Many people, including myself when I first heard about this idea thought it meant trying to detach from our feelings. Detach in the sense of not trying to feel anything, not trying to feel, happy, or sad or excitement or any emotion really because in doing so would mean being attached to that certain emotion, situation or person that caused those feelings to arise.
There is a saying in zen not to turn into a ” Stone Buddha” by that they mean, the goal in spirituality isn’t to turn into a stone statue, unmoved or unaffected by anything, even if we could feel that way, how terrible and what a boring way to experience this miracle called life. The state we are trying to achieve isn’t a state of avoiding, suppressing or running away from life in a hope to find peace but running head first into life, embracing whatever we experience fully.
Our ego turns everything into an image, a story, how to do this or do that etc, our ego sees spirituality or how a spiritual person is suppose to act and feel in a certain way, the reality is though we are spiritual in every moment and every action. Our ego thinks inner peace will come when we are walking around like a saint, happy all the time with a smile on our face, unaffected by any bad thoughts or feelings.
The reality to inner peace though, the true meaning of spiritual detachment is to not run from or avoid experience but to run towards experience and fully embrace it. We must fully embrace it and experience it but in the back of our minds remember to tell ourselves that everything is impermanent, nothing lasts, so don’t cling to any experience, don’t wish things were different because things never stay the same.
When we are happy we must make the most of that moment knowing it won’t last. When we are upset, no need to try to block out the feelings, we might as well fully embrace the feeling of sadness to the fullest knowing it won’t last as well. Our thoughts and feelings are never a problem, resisting or clinging to certain thoughts and feelings is the problem.
Inner peace isn’t found in the absence of problems but in the midst of them. We are human, we have a full range of human emotions, to be detached from our emotions in the spiritual sense is to welcome all thoughts, feelings and emotions equally with no resistance to what is. On the outside we will look and act like a regular person but on the inside we will find inner peace. If our ego self wants to act and dress what it deems as “spiritual” that’s totally fine too, but just realise it’s not required and doesn’t achieve anything other than present an image to the world.
When we look deep within we will see our true self is already detached, is unaffected by anything. We see happiness come and we see it go so our true self can’t be happy. We see sadness come and we see it go so our true self can’t be sad, the same goes for everything we experience. Our true self is always detached and at peace, it’s our ego self that goes on the full roller coaster of emotions and that’s perfectly ok. Our ego self is flawed, is in constant movement and unrest, our true self is divine, perfect and unmoved. We are always playing the human and divine role simultaneously, it’s ying and yang in action.
Thanks for reading, have an awesome day.