Monday, June 29, 2009

Thoughts on Detachment

Detachment doesn’t mean not loving. It means to be free to love with God’s love. Without detachment we are not free. We are bound to our limited selves, our egos, and when we are bound we project onto others, grasp after them, and/or reject them. Without detachment we cannot be fully aware of others or fully present to them. So we love selfishly, at least partly, and in self-serving ways.

Detachment enables us to be aware of and engage reality as it really is. It enables us to welcome and embrace the unfolding of reality and be present and responsive to the Spirit at work within it. Without detachment we cannot see truth, cannot realize or actualize the truth.

Detachment requires skillful, intentional humility and vulnerability because detachment does not come naturally to us; it is a supernatural gift, a grace, though we can practice making ourselves available to it. My prayer for myself and for our community is that we continue to grow in loving others with awareness, humility, and skill. And this, I think, requires detachment.


Daniel said...

Rickey, I appreciate the careful attention to detail in this entry! Very clear and meaningful! Detachment does indeed require "skillful, intentional humility and vulnerability," an especially poignant reminder for me in this season of transition.

Paul Corrigan said...

"Detachment doesn’t mean not loving." This is difficult to grasp, when grasping is often equated with loving. The parents who try to control their children are thought to "love" them the most, for instance. However, the practical value of the peace that comes with detachment is hard to argue against. It seems that that peace comes from a detachment rooted in an apophatic spirituality and not a kind of stoicism, an understanding of the "particular and fleeting" nature of those things to which one could be attached and a choosing of those more eternal things and not some coldly rational "acceptance" of fate. A sense of detachment like this has been invaluable in my marriage, even if I'm not fully there yet.

living stones said...

Rickey, you wrote that "detachment means to be free to love with God's love, and it doesn't come naturally to us." But "it is a gift, a grace..." I am grateful that we get to practice this together. Amen! Love, Anna

RC said...

Thank you all for caring about and engaging these kinds of issues in an in-depth, insightful, and caring way. It encourages and strengthens me!

Jen said...

Hello! I am visiting again finally, and I am so happy to read this entry! I recently listened to a lecture on attachment and detachment in regard to addictions, and I found detachment to be key in my relationship to others as well, even as counter-intuitive as it seems. I do want to "be free to love with God's love" as well... thank you for your entry; it has affirmed some thoughts that I am processing here at L'Abri.

Matt said...

Rickey, thank you for your challenging and encouraging words. "Detachment requires ... vulnerability." This is a harrowing thought. It seems that the kind of vulnerability about which you speak is best formed in community. Thanks again.

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