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Detachment

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

Excerpts about Detachment

Detachment Includes Aloneness but Goes Much Further

I recognize that in the crystal heart there is complete absence of ego tendencies. The heart is crystal clear, without the slightest movement in any direction. In this state the heart is a manifestation of the nonconceptual clarity of Being: open, virginal and refreshingly cool. It has no position, negative or otherwise. I recognize this state of the heart as true detachment. I experience detachment from everything: relationships, pleasure, comfort, security, knowledge, essence, realization, enlightenment, ego, suffering, and so on. The state involves a much more total letting-go than does the state of aloneness. Just as aloneness is a more complete freedom than separation, so is detachment a greater liberation of the heart than aloneness. In separation, my experience of myself is separate and autonomous from my experience of other people. It is freedom within the experience of relating. Aloneness emphasizes detachment from relationships; it is freedom from having to have relationships. I am myself regardless of relationships, whether there is relating or not. And since most of my attachments are to things involving relationships, I have been seeing detachment in terms of aloneness. This new detachment is from more than relationships; it is detachment from everything. Detachment includes aloneness, but goes much further. It is the absence of hope and longing for the objects of attachment, and for the pleasures and comforts they promise, without rejection or judgment. There is full openness to enjoy what is present to the heart and consciousness, yet when an experience is over, consciousness does not dwell on it. There is absence of clinging and mental preoccupation, before and after an experience of enjoyment.

Ego Structures and Psychodynamic Issues are Not Affected Directly by Enlightenment Experiences

First, experience and recognition of true nature, regardless on what dimension of subtlety and completeness, do not automatically dissolve all ego structures. It is our observation that ego structures, and for that matter psychodynamic issues, are not affected directly by enlightenment experiences. This is due to the fact that these structures and issues have mostly unconscious underpinnings. Unconscious elements of the psyche are not impacted by conscious experience directly, except maybe in exposing them to consciousness in some occasions. These structures are impacted only by awareness of them and complete understanding of their content. The
enlightenment experience may give the individual a greater detachment and presence that makes it easier for him or her to confront these structures and issues without becoming overwhelmed by them, and hence have a better opportunity to work through them. The greater presence that may result might make it easier for the individual to abide more in true nature, and this way have a greater detachment from the influence of the structures. But the structures will not self-destruct simply because the soul has seen the light. We understand that this view is counter to the claims of many individuals who profess enlightenment. The actions of many of these individuals should speak for themselves.

If You Value the State of Detachment then What Happens in External Life Doesn’t Much Matter

Student: Groups doing this work often go on long retreats, and you also talk about the value of living in the world. Could you say more about these two perspectives?
Almaas: I think long retreats can be useful as we investigate who and what we are. Once in a while the work might include a period of retreat, but it is not a way of life for this work. Sometimes we go on retreat or we go into seclusion in order to be away from all influences. But I don’t advocate living a monastic life, or wearing certain robes, or adhering to a specific diet. Why not just wear trousers and have the latest haircut and still be real? Why not have friends and drink café au lait in the morning? What matters is detachment, not what you are doing. What matters is your attitude toward what is happening. If you value the state of detachment and mystical poverty, then what happens in external life doesn’t much matter.

The Unfoldment of Being Cannot be Separated from Detachment from Ego identification Systems

The incapacity to be present in the objectively-required essential state is due only to the presence of conflicts around the state. The conflicts around any essential aspect make it difficult for the individual to allow its presence. When it does become present in spite of issues, then these issues become apparent to one’s consciousness. The conflicts can be due to the lack of understanding of some dimensions of Being, but this understanding is usually unavailable due to the presence of emotional issues. Some teachings make it sound as if one lets go of ego, and then Being starts unfolding. The implication is that the development that occurs on the Being level requires only existential understanding. This is definitely not accurate; every development or unfoldment of a new dimension of Being involves the understanding of certain emotional issues. So the unfoldment of Being cannot be separated from the progressive understanding of, and detachment from, some ego identification systems. The deepest and most subtle functionings of ego are usually not conscious in the beginning student, and include aspects of his existence that he firmly believes are objective and immutable. In the Diamond Approach, self-realization involves the complete realization of all aspects of Being. Each aspect manifests, its issues are understood, and it finally becomes a permanent attainment, as segments of the ego are abandoned. It is a lengthy, deep process, rich with surprises, full of difficulties of all kinds, and replete with color and significance.

We Need to Learn Not to Consume Our Experiences

The more deeply we see our inner nature, the more we love it and the more we want to do nothing else but serve it. We begin to wish and pray to become a slave to the truth. In time, the soul recognizes that that’s what it wants in its own heart. Servitude is not imposed from above. Neither is it a decision we make. We have to go deeply into the heart of the soul and see what that heart wants. What makes that heart peaceful and happy? What is its highest aim? If we look at it that way, we see that the work on the passions is indispensable. We need to discover the realm of virtues: serenity, humility, truthfulness, detachment, equanimity, sobriety. We need to learn not to consume our experiences. That’s the attitude of the inner glutton, who doesn’t
want to feel his empty stomach. With sobriety, we are awake with our experiences and not overtaken by our passions. We are not overrun by our unrefined nature. We are awake to ourselves and approach our experience with some kind of detachment, with some kind of humility and gratitude, with some kind of purity. And from the perspective of service, our motivation for purification is the pure love of the truth, manifested as our expression of it. We’re not developing the capacities so we can be stronger or more peaceful or more loving. We’re developing the capacities so we will be better able to serve the truth. At least that’s how I see it. You have to find out whether that is the case for you.

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