Embracing Detachment

Detachment. Loss. Letting go. Surrender.

How often in the modern world do we ever discuss these simple- yet powerful words?

How often do you hear casual discourse about letting a material object go? How often do you hear people discuss letting a relationship fall gently to the side due to it’s high toxicity level? When was the last time you heard someone lament their detachment to the dwelling where they rest their head at night?


Almost never. Unless you’re lucky enough to live in a Buddhist retreat, a Portland/Boulder-esque city or a hippy commune- its probably a rare occurrence to discuss how blessed we are to recognize our detachment to the things in our life.

Rather, in the Whirlwind, people are gushing over their attachment– to the latest gadget, their dramatic relationship or the home they lavish most of their resources towards. I’m just as guilty as the next- only, I’m blessed in the sense that I have experienced loss, letting go and the occasional blessed freedom of detachment.

I struggle to keep these principles in balance as I travel through this Whirlwind of attachment and chaos. I am lucky in that I know how little I need to actually enjoy my existence on this planet. I know the necessities that allow me to love well, to live well and to simply enjoy being. And if I’m lucky enough– I’m able to remember those simple elements that maintain balance as I travel through this Whirlwind.

My heart aches to see so many people traveling through this world with a true fear of loss, detachment and change. People who cling to what was- no matter how unhealthy, toxic and destructive- for fear of the change in letting go.

So many people who have never had the opportunity or been shown how to simply surrender.

For once you walk the path of total surrender– the process of letting go fully and completely– navigating through the Whirlwind becomes a manageable and sometimes enjoyable journey. But without that trust in the unknown, trust in the simple act of letting go– regardless of what lies beyond — the sheer magnitude of of that abyss keeps people trapped in that perpetual cycle of hate, anger, drama and defeat.

If we could all simply let go and embrace a small degree of detachment- just a little– the Whirlwind might not be so chaotic and I might not see so many Zombies traveling through their days unengaged and out of synch with the beauty that surrounds them.

This essay was inspired by an article from Shambhala Sun’s 11/2012 issue titled The Vagabond Queen of Craigslist by Atisha Paulson.