5 ways to practise attachment with detachment in your relationship with others

Photo by Jeffrey Levick/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by Jeffrey Levick/iStock / Getty Images
Allowing attachments to people or things create a compulsory addiction in us to be controlling. This ‘control’ (fueled by fear of loss) fools us into a false sense of security and love. At first glance it is common to confuse the idea of Conscious Detachment with non-feeling or being cold, however learning this skill is a giant leap towards enlightenment. When you consciously detach yourself from an object or a loved one, you empower them to exist at their potential. From this perspective, just being in their presence fosters feelings of love and admiration that far exceed any relationship that is limited with expectations, confinement and control.
— Gary Hopkins

The other day somebody sent me an article written by a mother of two grown-up children, now married and how by practicing detachment in her attachment towards them, she was able not only to let go off them, but at the same time give them her complete unconditional love. This helped her to start accepting people and things around her as they were, developing in her a sense of peace and contentment.

I am not a mother of two, in fact I am not even married and I am not sure that my love for others can match the unconditional love a mother feels for her children, but one thing I know for certain, that if I do not practice Conscious Detachment in my relationship with others, I may hurt myself and end up feeling lonely and miserable. Such feelings of loneliness and dejection are a genuine waste of time and energy as they confuse facts and blur our understanding, so that we do not see things as they truly exist.

Practicing attachment in detachment, I realize, is something that I need to do consciously and continuously so that I can fully enjoy the company of those whom I love, without expecting anything in return. It may be difficult to follow at first, especially since as human beings we are so adept at turning relationships into business negotiations, but learning from those who have been victorious, I am convinced that if I try hard, then with continuous daily practice, I can get to this state of being.

Here are some of the things that help me do this:

1. Build a relationship with your higher self

When you begin to have a deep relationship with your Higher Self,  then you begin to see life as an intricate play designed to bring out the best in you, making you stronger with each experience that comes your way. This knowledge of the Higher Self can be achieved through meditation. I have friends who have been practicing meditation for decades and what is really noticeable in their relationship with others, is the element of impersonal love that makes it possible to love others unconditionally. This sort of a natural detachment, I would think, does not turn us into unfeeling beings, but on the other hand, can only help us to care and love more deeply, as then we are not thinking of ourselves anymore. 

2. Seek to be in the company of like-minded people

Spending time and developing friendships with people who think like us and have similar goals, is a great aid to strengthen our own efforts to succeed in the challenges that life presents us. Friends who are like-minded help each other even without saying a word. I always derive great benefit by hanging out with yogis and enlightened beings - their company always brings me out of the clutches of worldly feelings and desires that can otherwise make me very petty and selfish. I always experience great freedom in the company of those who have perfected those traits, I am still struggling with.

3. Giving without expecting anything in return

I would like to thing that since giving without expecting anything in return, is probably one of the most difficult values to practice in life, it should also be the best, because it makes you completely free and truly happy. I remember when I started this blog last year, for several months I did not have even a single visitor on my website, but I kept on with the attitude of giving, giving and giving without expecting anything in return. I was not competing with anybody and I was happy and content. Then suddenly around the same time, a friend whom I loved very much broke up with me, leaving me very hurt and angry. At this time, another friend asked me to practice the same kind of giving I was practicing with my blog, in the relationship with my friend who had caused me this pain. He suggested me to upgrade my consciousness! It was perhaps the best advice I ever got, that also helped me to understand what true, unconditional love is all about. After more than an year, my friend is back in my life and thankfully, after having worked on myself more consciously this last year, I am able to practice a certain degree of detachment in my attachment to this friendship with her.

4. Give people the benefit of a doubt

The other day I was talking to my sister-in-law, whom I dearly love and respect and still manage to hurt at times (sorry, for the other day, dear....:)), who said to me something very wise, that sometimes people really do not know how to receive love, so if they don't respond to us the way we want them to, we should not feel hurt but give them the benefit of a doubt! Then we went on to discuss all the people we knew who did not know how to receive love, and despite their cold and arrogant outward behavior to us, we still loved unconditionally!

5. Imagine this is your last day on earth

I practised this in my meditation this morning. I thought of each and every person whom I love and am attached to, and very consciously let go off them, at the same time thanking them for coming into my life and sending them all my love and goodwill. I also started mentally detaching myself from all my things, especially my wardrobe and my new Prada dress, and my harmonium and my blog.....till I felt completely free of the things of the world, so I could truly enjoy my last day on earth and embrace the life beyond without any attachments. I have to add that my friend's young mother just died of cancer, and I met another young boy yesterday, barely in his twenties, who has a brain tumor. Life is a constant reminder that we should not take our days on earth for granted, but strive to become better and better everyday.