The Practice of Detachment

inner peace from letting go of ego and faith in God

detachment - letting go of a butterflyMany of us have become so attached to things that we simply can’t let go. It’s gotten to a critical point where we really feel we can’t do without them – these things. We start to associate stuff with security and happiness. Our life isn’t fulfilled until we are filled; with stuff. I even noticed my hesitation last night to clean my desktop computer of various pictures that I had used in previous posts. As if I might possibly be forever damaged by losing a picture of the Peanuts celebrating New Year. Oh, the pain… how could I ever replace that?


This inordinate attachment goes well beyond things that we intellectually know we can do without. We are also attached to people, thoughts, habits, and even ourselves. These attachments are difficult to let go of because they have become habitual. So, it takes consistent practice to form new habits to replace the old and foster an attitude of detachment. It takes a major shift from living in fear to living in faith.

When someone treats us unfairly, how do we react? If we detach from the person, we are at peace. We can separate the person from the action and simply choose not to react. We may even say “you might be right”. We realize that their behavior is not our fault and doesn’t control us or force us to act any differently than we want to.  illegitimi non carborundum! It cannot ruin our day unless we chose to let it.

What about ourselves? Do we take ourselves so seriously that we might be in day long funk because we messed up during a speech or gave someone the best advice we could that later turned out to be inadequate? Yes, we must even detach from ourselves in a way. We are creatures and are not perfect. The imperfections in us can be viewed as the artist’s flair. If every vase looked the same, then none would be special. So we practice detachment and acceptance. Detach from the ephemeral things of this world and accept God’s will for us.

So, the next time someone cuts you off when you’re getting on the freeway, or you can’t see your computer desktop because of all the icons, or you accidentally wore your shirt inside out all day, just relax and remember your new habit of detachment.

6 Comments

  1. Excellent post. I never thought about detaching from people and even myself. Just from material things. But I see your point. Thanks

  2. Awesome insight James. It’s probably not a coincidence that I was just reading a book on detachment and how it’s necessary for real spiritual growth.

    Your articles are always great.

  3. I appreciated your insights. I have been working on detachment for several years now and get discouraged at times because it is hard to give some things up–harder in practice than in thought. I can remember when I first started reading spiritual books, how I thought it would be easy to give things up–was I ever wrong. Thanks.

  4. wise post,James.but let me make it clear.without understanding in God, in blind heart or with bitterness life,in stress/pressure,in freak life, detachment could drive a despair or attitude of “ignoring” or no response to something which happens in life or kick out someone goes from our life by our own will, we dont care anymore for everything and it’s not God’will.Only when we life in truth of God & our heart in God’s love, we can say. it’s God’s will.nothing wrong with ephemeral things cause it’s not sin since God gives us it during our lifetime as mankind, except we do sin intentionally, sin is sin, no matter your american culture or any culture. eternal thing just in heaven after we passed away, and in heart, like principle in God’s truth, love, care, faithfulness, kindness and great attitude, etc.detachment without wisdom will trap you up in grey area. anyway, I admit, your post is always great. I love the author

  5. I had not read this.I’ve lived with embarrassment for many years due to errors in my pronounciation & fluency.i’ve not improved yet. i will separate myself from my tongue.Thanks.

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