Detachment is something that all of us know is good for us....perhaps even the best thing for us. Several great scholars and philosophers of the past have even held that detachment is the only way to attain peace and bliss, as it is the path what leads us to lose desire. But then, come to think of it, what does detachment mean? After all, how does one become detached? Can I just run away from all that I am attached to?
It's a funny thing when you really get down to it, because several times I see people running away from things. We all run away from some things which is really funny in a perverse way, because we do so knowing fully well, that the things we try to avoid the most are the things that generally end up crossing our paths somewhere anyway....so I guess perhaps it would be better to just be prepared to face things and not run away rather than run all the while and ultimately be caught unprepared.
The reason for this, in my opinion, is that we only run away from things when we know somewhere within that there is a high likelihood of that thing happening. And happen it does, more often than not. And yet, inspite of having faced this time and time again, we persist with our avoidance strategy. We continue to run away and hide and derive consolation in the belief that we tried our best not to let the situation arise at all.
Attachment is the strangest thing that we avoid though. it is avoided, by those that try to avoid it, in the hope that it will lead to a detachment. But this is exactly where things get twisted a little. For how can one be detached, simply by trying to avoid attachment? The more you try to run away from objects that you fear getting attached to, the more you are thinking about attachment itself. On the other hand, if one allows those objects to remain in the vicinity and then rises above the attachment that grows within, then one can truly claim to be detached. After all, how can you claim to be detached when you don't know how to deal with attachment?
There are people who would have you believe that solitude is a pre-requisite for detachment. is it really so? I fear not. For, in my modest opinion solitude just means that there is no one around you physically. Detachment is very far removed from this. In my solitude, I may be attached to far more things than another who sits in the midst of a crowd....and his detachment would be far greater than mine.....for detachment is a mental state, it is not physical in the least.....not the way I see it at any rate.
What then is detachment? For me, detachment rests in the feeling of not needing anybody or anything to be content. People or objects being there need not imply attachment. The ancient sages were often married and had active family lives and yet, they were detached. Detachment did not mean that they did not care about their children or wives. It just meant that they would not crumble, should a misfortune befall anyone around them.
As I arose to leave today from the coffee shop, a strange thought crossed my mind. I had been but a few yards away from an obnoxiously loud group of people. yet, in all the while that I had spent sitting there, I had not even noticed the noise level. Detached, some might say.....but that would hardly be a true statement of the facts.... It was a feeling of solitude, yes.....I was alone, although I was so close to them. Yet, I was not detached for a single moment....my thoughts saw to that......