Detachment is lauded as a spiritual virtue. Yet, the ways in which is it understood, and implemented in daily life raise important questions. Some have taken the meaning of the term in the spiritual context to reflect a lack of emotion, empathy, or even responsibility for one’s actions. Others may interpret it a reason to stay apart from the rest of humanity.
For me, an idea of detachment that fully distances one’s self from human emotion, and the sanctity of everyday human interaction is one that leaves much to be desired. It often results in a hollow rhetoric and posturing of ‘being spiritual’, whilst, in reality, being ‘wholly out of touch’. When we begin to believe that our Truths are somehow separate from all Others, when we occupy a disconnected space apart from all else (that supposedly somehow makes us ‘better’) — I see the hand of the ego at play, wearing a shiny new hat. This is very different from a certain kind of Distancing which Spiritual Facilitators and Seekers are often called to, usually out of necessity. We’ll get to that difference in a little bit.
Many of us in the field are immediately placed on a pedestal by those whom we reach out to and help as we access spiritual information in ways that appear mysterious, and (hopefully) connected with a Sacred, Divine, Holy (use the term you prefer) source.
It’s not an attitude that I’m particularly fond of endorsing as it often leads to a hierarchical relationship. It is one thing to respect the wisdom of another, and it is another to place the responsibility of your spiritual evolution in their hands.
Whilst I respect the roles of guides, gurus and mentors, the current (emerging) energy paradigm we live in doesn’t quite resonate with the old idea of ‘Follow the Leader’. We are each called to find our own Truths, and make our own Paths – and in this paradigm – the archetype of the Messiah / Saviour no longer is found ‘out there’, but rather ‘within’. Let me give you an example:
Some time ago, someone thought I was setting myself up as a Messiah of some kind. I politely explained that I wasn’t a fan of the idea. People might enjoy my work, and that’s great – but it’s something they choose for themselves. If it resonates, great, if it doesn’t, great. At times we’ll journey together, and at other times, the paths diverge – and maybe we’ll see each other again, or not. It all depends on where you are as part of your journey, and what kind of teaching, guidance or facilitation you need at that time.
For me, leaving things open in that way facilitates the freedom of Spirit’s movement, evolution and honors the individual’s path of development and growth.
But what does all this have to do with detachment – and distancing? Quite a bit.
Those of us on this path, particularly those who facilitate, often find themselves seeking kindred souls who understand the solitude this work entails. At times we celebrate and share that silence, and at others, we take comfort in a simple nod of recognition. Sometimes we’re burnt out from picking up too much psychic stress, other times, it’s a simple need to be by the self so that we can more fully experience our connection with whatever Sacred Energy we work with. Either way, a natural distancing tends to happen over time, which is probably why we have the stereotype of the yogi sitting in seclusion on the mountain. (It’s not wrong, but not all yogis work that way – it’s still a stereotype that, like all stereotypes, has a grain of truth in it).
The beauty and paradox of it is — those of us who seek this Distance, (ideally) do so not to run away from it all, but rather to immerse ourselves deeper in this Collective Vibration. (At least, this is my view of it). We don’t run to our caves and mountains because humanity is too ‘messy, petty, or ugly’, we seek these spaces out in order to feel deeper into it – into Ourselves, and into the web of connection that is woven between us all. I feel that this distinction needs to be discussed a lot more, particularly in circles of facilitators.
At times the Distancing becomes too great, we forget the need to tune back into the person sitting right in front of us, seeking counsel – or simply seeking a human presence to speak with. Whilst there is the tendency to elevate the wisdom of guides, angels, light beings and facilitators (what we perceive as such), the simple truth and sanctity of the human connection is sometimes forgotten in the process. We become too busy trying to connect with what is ‘out there’ that we forget to look at who’s ‘right in front of us’. And when we go about the work we do with such imbalances, we may find the message we receive – and give – distorted. That, at the end of the day, serves None.
So how do we take the necessary space we need without forgetting the human element? That comes back to question of Detachment and what it means, in practice.
The best definition of detachment that I have found is this: “Detachment is not that you should own nothing, but that nothing should own you.” ~ Ali Ibn abi Talib
It doesn’t have to mean that you have to separate yourself from people, or the Wisdom that their Hearts carry. It doesn’t have to mean you sit in a cave and own nothing. It applies to the here and now, every waking moment. It applies even to our connection with religious and spiritual paradigms, and the connection we have with Guidance, and what have with those who come to us in search of something. And it’s that last bit which I hope we will collectively reflect upon more and more in times to come.
Many of us on the path are awakening to greater abilities now and deepening our connection with Source. Sadly, many others are falling in love with the mirrors cast by the ego and losing that connection (all part of the Saturn-in-Sagittarius energy). I see the Distancing-Detaching question to one of the key thresholds across which you determine your direction. Do you go deeper into truth, or delusion?
There’s a lot more that can be said on this, but I hope that this reflection inspires you a similar process of reflection.
Blessings to all,
Image: 360-degree Panorama of the Southern Sky edit.jpg – By 360-degree_Panorama_of_the_Southern_Sky.jpg: ESO/H.H. Heyer derivative work: Maedin\talk (360-degree_Panorama_of_the_Southern_Sky.jpg) [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons