August 2018

Detachment

K. C. Narang
Chartered Accountant

' Detachment is not that you should own anything. But nothing should own you’.
                            Alibin abi Talib

Have we ever reflected and realised that consciously or unconsciously we live a life of attachment. Attachment to our parents, spouse, siblings, children and friends. We are also attached to our possessions and neighbourhood, city and country. Above all, we are attached to our work and our thoughts. Our attachment to our thoughts makes us what we are – thoughts control our actions at home, at work and our behaviour in our social interactions. In short we live a life possessed by possessions as we consider we possess all those to whom we are attached. Let us examine what attachment does to us. Attachment creates feeling of helplessness. It converts us into a mini slave. It makes us restless and we rarely realise that sub-consciously it generates 'fear’ – fear of loss of person, possession or work. When we lose a person to whom we are attached – a mini death occurs in us. Loss of possession or work makes us unhappy. There are occasions when death of person generates grief not only to the family but also nations – three examples come to mind – death of Mahatma Gandhi, President John F. Kennedy and Princess Diana – these were mourned by many in the world.

It has been rightly said that attachment is a fetter and is the intrinsic cause of unhappiness. The issue is : how to get over the fear of loss, eliminate grief and bring happiness in our life. In other words, what is the antidote to attachment. The antidote in the author’s view are 'acceptance and detachment’. Acceptance establishes the role of destiny in our life and detachment ushers in calm. Detachment converts us from doers to observers – observers who have no reactions. In short, develop detachment from people, places and property without being callous. Develop the ability to let go and accept. Further all religions in one form or the other advise us : 'do your best and accept the result as a gift from God’. I would conclude by quoting Charlie Chaplin :

-Nothing is permanent in this wicked world – not even our troubles’.

Hence, to have a happy life let us live our life by adopting 'attachment with detachment’.

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