Detached and loving

Baba says, ‘be detached and loving‘. That can sound contradictory but it is not. It is in fact the only way to be truly loving to both myself and to others.

Have you noticed that the relationships that feel the hardest to manage are with those that we are close with? My immediate family, my parents, my close friends, my team mates. That’s where we deal with the most emotion, the most drama – love, heartbreak, betrayal, criticism, judgment, irritation, expectation…you name it, we’ve been there.

But when it comes to people outside our inner circle- our acquaintances, those we meet every so often, don’t cross paths with or have a dependency with – we find that we handle those relationships much easily. We hardly ever lose our cool, even if they don’t quite align with our way of life, we shrug it off. If there are a few words that are misspoken, we let it go.

The difference is attachment.

In the first case, we are attached. We have high expectations of the people we are attached to because we feel we have a right over them, that they ‘belong’ to us. I almost think of that person as an extension of me. That’s a tad unfair to me, to them and to the relationship. It also inevitably leads to disappointments, frustrations and disillusionment.

Baba teaches us to be detached first and then loving. The ‘my‘ and ‘mine‘ are what deceive me. She is my daughter, my mother or he is my husband. Even with positions or possessions, we have the same issue- that is my idea, my talent, my skill, that chair is mine etc. etc. If we were to scan all the things and people we are attached to, that we call mine, we’d be surprised!

Baba says, the only relationship is the pure one between souls. If I can stay in the awareness of being a soul and see the other person as a soul as well, then I step out of the trap of my and mine and all the labels. I am no longer entangled, instead I am detached. Then I find it is easy to be loving – I find that I am more objective, I don’t expect as much, I am more understanding and accepting of the differences. I am able to transform emotion into pure feelings and take the drama out with just that one change – seeing everyone as a soul, a point of light rather than by the labels we’ve given them.

It’s when I try to be loving without first detaching that I get in trouble.

Baba gives us the example of the Lotus flower. It grows in the swamp but is able to remain detached and therefore beautiful. Similarly, we live in a world of high drama, where the emotions are heightened, nerves are frayed with everyone trying to do and be a lot of things at the same time. Let me learn to step back, detach from the goings-on, peel off the masks and the labels and see myself and others for who we really are – souls, children of God.

That helps me shed the burden of attachments, rise above the swamp and bloom like a Lotus flower.

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