We get to hear the idea of detachment a lot more now, as it becomes mainstream in the spiritual community. But let’s address why it’s so difficult to detach ourselves and how we can practice this challenging concept.
The opposite of detachment is attachment – and most of us are very attached to at least one person in our life. Maybe it’s a family member, a friend, or a romantic partner. You might wonder what’s wrong with that.
The thing is, we mistake our attachment for love. But love is not the same as being attached – you can love someone and not feel weakened by the absence of them or the relationship. We’ll get into the how of that soon. Let’s first explore why we become attached in a way that can weaken us.
Why we are so attached in the first place
In 2021, when renowned trauma specialist, Dr. Gabor Mate released his documentary called The Wisdom of Trauma, I was deeply inspired by his understanding of the human psyche and biology. In his words, we are biologically wired for attachment because the human infant or a mammalian infant is so utterly helpless, so vulnerable, and so underdeveloped that they would not survive without an attachment relationship.
So in other words, attachment is a biological need to help us sustain our organism.
As Dr. Gabor also said in one of his courses, a child can literally die if it’s not provided with love and connection!
Then, here’s an important question we might begin to ask ourselves.
Is it even possible to be detached and still love somebody? Yes.
Growing up, I was constantly coming home crying because a friend “broke up” with me or a group of friends went so far as to kick me out of our group! I lived with my heart on my sleeve. I was also very sensitive to other people’s pain in a way that would leave me drained for days on end.
If you’re anything like me, and have a heart so open that you soak up the emotions that arise from attachment, you are what I like to call an emotional sponge!
But like we established before, up till this point, we are simply operating out of the needs of this human body. So how does one move beyond their biological needs?
This can feel very challenging when we are taken over by strong emotions like infatuation, anxiety, grief, and so on. But did you know – if we can let an emotion rise and fall in our body, it only takes about 90 seconds for it fully process?
This means that the grip of our attachments can significantly reduce when we learn to manage our emotions. We’ve done some powerful work around emotional regulation in our group workshop, which you can access by signing up or logging in below.
Please note that by signing up, you also get access to a growing library of dozens of exclusive workshops, video trainings, guided audios, etc. And the best part? You’ll get an invite to our upcoming live group class(es).
Maybe you’re also the person that has overtime started to feel less attached after their spiritual journey. I’d like to help you understand whether this is really detachment or maybe something else.
But wait – are you really detached, or just indifferent?
I have a humbling personal story to share with you.
One Sunday morning, at around 5 AM, I heard a girl hysterically crying right outside our house, “don’t leave me Mike, please! Don’t leave me”.
I was startled awake, and my first response was a grumpy “really?”
As the yelling continued, other thoughts flooded my mind. Should I call the cops on her for creating a menace at 5 AM? What if she’s suicidal? And then…I hope the angels are protecting her.
As soon as I wished that for her, an image of the spiritual realm watching over her came in front of me. And for some reason, after crying for another minute or so, the girl left.
Prayer was not my first response, but it did teach me something new.
My “really?” moment might have boosted my ego, to think I’m so detached because I’m unaffected by this situation. But really, it was me closing my heart from a bigger fear that I shared with this stranger. I didn’t want to be left either. And I couldn’t bear the thought, so I began to judge her for how she was handling this.
While she was down in the streets crying, I was in my ego, telling myself things like “I wouldn’t want that person, why is she crying over someone who left her“.
She was vulnerable. But I wasn’t any better, or in this context, detached. I was simply acting indifferent because I was unconsciously shutting out my own pain.
That night, this stranger taught me the beautiful difference between detachment and indifference.
Thus, detachment isn’t about not feeling pain. It’s about being compassionate in the moment of pain, but not identifying with it.
Another example of what detachment can be related to is you’ve ever felt a connection with your soul guides. If you recall, they reflect so much love and compassion, without seeming to be rattled by our pain or too attached to our life. And yet, they are our biggest cheerleaders and guides.
Let’s now dive into some more tools and practices to get better at detachment.
Tool #1: Detachment through understanding soul contracts
If you’re new to this website or to the term “soul contract”, here’s what I mean. Before we’re born, we choose the people we want to be with and the lessons we’d like to experience in our upcoming journey. While these decisions are hard to remember because of the soul amnesia, this concept has been time and time again been proven accurate through countless experiments and studies. It is also congruent with what near-death experience survivors will tell you about the afterlife. There’s a divine design at play.
And this topic is a rabbit hole that goes beyond the scope of this particular article, but I’ve gone into elaborate detail here.
So with that introduction, I’m inviting you to reflect on the idea that all our human relationships are meant to help us grow and that they’re not permanent. Also that we do meet again, and again.
Kahlil Gibran’s poem is a beautiful elaboration of this. Please reflect on the deeper meaning as a tool to experience more detachment. He says:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them but seek not to make them like you.
Tool #2: Detachment through a higher form of attachment
What if you could create that bond with the Universe so that you were rooted in a kind of security and safety that nothing else could shake you?
Easier said than done, I know! But acknowledging that it’s possible for us, is the first step.
And asking ourselves if that’s delicious enough to pursue is the next! For instance, we all know that it’s good to regularly workout for our cardiovascular health, but only those that really want to be healthy focus on this goal. Just like that, you have to really want to be unshakeable in order to walk the path that helps you connect with the Universe.
If you are hungry for a higher form of attachment, here’s my next insight.
The universe, a subtle and all-pervading energy listens to us when we pray for something to happen.
It isn’t deaf.
Nor is it “punishing” us by not delivering our desires.
In fact, the Universe knows what we need even before we pray for it. Think about this – most of the good things, big and small, that we have in life aren’t because we have prayed for them. And yet, we have so many blessings to count and be grateful for.
In a practical sense, prayer is similar to how a kid will talk to his or her mother when he’s asking her to buy chocolates. And while we don’t necessarily hear a literal response from the universe, we can feel its acknowledgment with synchronicities.
And then there might be times when mom might not bring the exact chocolate the kid hoped for, or may simply refuse to bring it at all and bring a boring chocolate-coated green apple as a consolation. But if you give the green apple a chance, you might actually end up enjoying it (based on a true story of what happened to me when I was a kid).
And of course, if the chocolate doesn’t taste good to you, your mom will make adjustments for next time.
In a similar fashion, when you attach yourself to the Universe, you will receive its manifestations for you as potentially better chocolate. It’s your choice to try it with an open mind or to keep resisting and resenting it.
And just in case you truly give it a chance and still don’t like what you receive, be assured by this divine law: the Universe is ever course-correcting. But first, open-minded trying is important.
Through this analogy approach, I hope you begin to start seeing the Universe as your eternal caregiver, one that is always listening and working to elevate your life’s experience.
Side note: If you have trust issues with the Universe, I’d like to invite you to watch my free masterclass on overcoming this wall that has led you to believe your eternal caregiver doesn’t really care. You can grab the video lesson by signing up for my newsletter below.
I hope you are beginning to see and appreciate the complexities and nuances of our biological need for attachment. Which also means that detachment is not a simple concept to work on! So kudos to you for trying. And while I don’t consider myself detached from all things, I’ve seen my journey become less shaky as I continue practicing the tools I’ve shared above. I trust the same will happen for you.
Please note that if you feel deeply attached to someone and are struggling to heal this trauma bond, I am here to professionally support you, if you feel called to work with me. You can use the link below to signup for a complimentary consult and explore if working together would be a good fit for you.
Vasundhra is the Founder & Writer of My Spiritual Shenanigans. After seeing 11:11 on the clock one fateful night, her life turned around. Ever since, she has been blending modern psychology and ancient spirituality, to help herself and people around the world elevate the quality of their lives.
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