To understand detachment first we need to understand what is attachment. Attachment in its simplest language is getting attached to something. The question which will arise to all of us is how do we get attached to something. Here we need to analyze how attachment arises. When we like something, when we start to enjoy something, we get a feeling of pleasure when we get something, we are attracted to it. That is the beginning of attachment. Now we can proudly say WE ARE ATTACHED to ourselves.
When we get pleasure from anything, attraction to that thing happens, and gradually without our knowledge, we get attached to that thing, knowingly or unknowingly. Do we get attached to a person who is abusive to us? Do we get attached to the food when the cook has forgotten to put salt or sugar in it? Do we get attached to the pain which is inflicted on us when the doctor pierces his needle in our shoulder? No, will be our direct answer to that.
But how about meeting our best college friend, by luck, when we get into the train? How do we feel when somebody tells us, “You have done a good job? Keep it up!”. Do we not feel good about it? Do we want such experiences to happen again? We would regularly like our best friend to meet us frequently rather than meeting somebody we dislike or has become an irritant to us. We would like that all people give us complements like “You have done a good job, Keep it up!.” We would frequently like to eat our favorite breakfast and watch our favorite movies. The attachment has happened, for sure.
Attachment is a state which we would frequently like to cling to. We feel upset, get into fear or depression or stress when we don’t get it. In fact, we are fearful that what would happen if we don’t get the things that we love so much. What if my best friend passes away and I have to stay with a guy who I dislike most. What if people instead of praising me insult me and disrespect me in front of everybody.
Attachment does not happen consciously. It is a state which happens unconsciously. We don’t even realize our actions and suddenly they become our habits and we get attached to it. We go to a new restaurant which started last week and like the quality of the food there. We go there a few times with the family, gradually we start going there every weekend and suddenly it becomes a habit which is attachment. What about the people who consume tobacco or alcohol; they are not only attracted to alcohol or tobacco, but they are more attached to the state which will happen when they consume such things. They want to repeat the feeling, the moments which happened the last time they consumed tobacco, they want to reproduce the feeling of going to the Smoking Zone. They cannot do away without it.
If we understood a little bit about attachment, it will be slightly easier to understand detachment. Detachment means being indifferent to different things in life, indifferent to situations, surroundings, people. Easier said than done, but it is the only way where we can get peace. We need to understand that if we like something or if we hate something, we are indirectly getting attached to that feeling. Detachment is to see things as they are. We should not judge things, we should not divide them into two categories, These are the things I like and These are the things I don’t like. We need to observe them objectively.
There can be no greater love possible between two persons than the love which a mother has for his child. The pain which a mother endures for nine months until the baby is born can never be described in words, we can only give salutations to the mother for that. She takes all the care of the baby until he learns to walk, then gets an education, followed by his getting job and fulfills her responsibility when he eventually gets married. She feels proud of his son, she tells everybody, “My Son is so intelligent. He is so obedient. He is so charming” and all the other things which people have heard so many times from her. She frequently recalls in amazement how the little kid who used to crawl on the ground unable to stand on his legs have grown so big and now has become married and has 2 children.
However, after his marriage the son faces a lot of struggles in his business and duties as a householder, as a parent. He is hardly able to cope with the pressure of his daily life. By that time his mother has grown old unable to do any work, she can barely walk but only with a stick in her hand and gradually unable to even get up from the bed. Now crazy as the son gets begins to dislike his mom and goes to such an extent that he starts beating her mother, losing all the shame in the world. Mother gets shocked has tears in her eyes however still cannot forget his son, to her the love for her son is always the same. She is totally attached to her son and even in such circumstances, she cannot live without him.
Now if the mother had developed the qualities of detachment. She would have rather realized earlier that her son is beginning to lose temper, has become crazy. She should rather have filed a case in police or rather went to an adult home because she already had the provision of money left by her husband.
This is exactly the situation for all people everywhere. They would rather get destroyed by being attached to things which they love rather than make efforts to develop qualities of detachment.