Yoga Blog

OCTOBER 26, 2011

‘Detachment’ In The Modern World

Posted by Dorothy under Community Interests, Natural Highs, Philosophy2 comments

Centuries ago, spiritual attainment was a social norm and societies were guided mostly by their spiritual and religious beliefs. Back then, people lived quite simple lives, had more respect for each other and did not have much to desire for. Contentment with the way of life and absence of greed makes a good recipe for happiness.

These days, countless worldly desires exist and are presented right into everyone’s faces. Hence, the wants and needs of people today are being blurred by the evil desire called greed and selfishness. These desires have caused lots of pain and suffering in our world today, with the extreme example of many sorts of war occurring everywhere, be it silent or explosive.

To counter all these negative yearnings, let us consider the act of ‘detachment’ or similarly known as ‘non-attachment’. What normally comes to our mind about detachment is the physical detachment from things and emotional detachment from living beings. In simple terms, the act of ‘losing’ something or someone. In this context physical detachment makes us think of the loss of our house, car, computers, mobile phones, etc. Similarly, emotional detachment is linked to losing our loved ones or our pets.

I would like all of you to consider other instances where detachment should come into play, for example, a parent worrying too much for a child, the feelings of anger towards someone when something happens, getting upset when something does not happen the way you expected it, holding on to old habits which benefit only yourself or our gluttony on food which leads sadly to a lot of wastage.

Taking into account all of the above, I am in the opinion that the lives we live today are entirely different from centuries ago, and therefore the standards to the idea of detachment then and now should highly be considered before any comparison is made. For example, people used to live without proper washing facilities, education was limited to spiritual education or mobile phones simply didn’t exist. Now, you are one click away of finding the best college for you. You could become a air traffic controller in a school that is not only near to you but has a tuition that you can pay. (If you are interested in finding a career for your just click on the link)

If one follows such practices now, it will not be practical for themselves and others around them. Imagine toilets without a modern flushing system or alienating yourself from having a telephone? It will not only cause inconvenience to yourself, but also to others. So, we have to keep practicality and moderation in mind.

To understand further the idea of ‘detachment’, I have found quotes from Mahatma Gandhi, the Tao Te Ching and a few other very valuable ones. I hope they will help you grasp the meaning of ‘detachment’. As for these modern times, physical attachment is apparent in every person and the importance of  ascertaining our ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ is crucial if one is to find happiness in their life, for greed and selfishness only lead to sorrow.

Detachment is not indifference. It is the prerequisite for effective involvement. Often what we think is best for others is distorted by our attachment to our opinions: we want others to be happy in the way we think they should be happy. It is only when we want nothing for ourselves that we are able to see clearly into others’ needs and understand how to serve them.
Mahatma Gandhi

By detachment I mean that you must not worry whether the desired result follows from your action or not, so long as your motive is pure, your means correct.
Mahatma Gandhi

Fame or Self: Which matters more? Self or Wealth: Which is more precious? Gain or Loss: Which is more painful? He who is attached to things will suffer much. He who saves will suffer heavy loss. A contented man is rarely disappointed. He who knows when to stop does not find himself in trouble. He will stay forever safe.
The Tao Te Ching

One who has finally learned that it is in the nature of objects to come and go without ceasing, rests in detachment and is no longer subject to suffering.
Ashtavakra Gita

Much of our inner turbulence reflects the fear of loss: our dependence on people, circumstances, and things not really under our control. On some level we know that death, indifference, rejection, repossession, or high tide may leave us bereft in the morning. Still, we clutch desperately at things we cannot finally hold. Nonattachment is the most realistic of attitudes. It is freedom from wishful thinking, from always wanting things to be otherwise.
Marilyn Ferguson (American writer)

Please keep all of these in mind and we can attain a better and healthier lifestyle benefiting ourselves, the people around us, our environment and other living beings, allowing all to live in peace and with a superior quality of life.


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Comments (2)

  1. Donna

    I love this post, Dorothy! Non-attachment has been one of the greatest lessons I have learned through yoga. Thank you. Namaste.

  2. Dorothy

    Hey Donna, thanks for taking your time to read my writings:):)

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