Detachment is a way of life and a guiding principle for social interactions. Recently , I read a very good book on this subject , “Let Go Now: Embracing Detachment” by Dr. Karen Casey. .Of course, Indian scriptures are full of the concept of detachment .Speeches by Vivekananda also helped me to clarify my confusions about the subject. As a practical and helpful guide for living , I describe below the essentials of detachment.
1. Accept people as they are .Do not try , or even expect to change them in any way. Have no expectation of help or support from them .Do not expect others to invite you , talk to you , or not to ignore you. Do not let their behaviour affect your feelings about yourself , your thoughts and your actions. How others behave is not your responsibility. It is their choice. Accept it and do not try to change it , even if it is unkind. When some one tries to provoke you , you have a choice not to do any thing. When some one verbally attacks you , you have a choice not to say anything . It may be better to stand aside and remain quiet. Realize that your life is not dependent on what others are doing or saying .
2. Get rid of the fear of abandonment .Let others leave you if they want .Let them go on their journey even if it is with out you. You have taught them what they needed to learn from you .But do not push them if they want to stay .You can be detached and still be friends or associates. Detachment permits respect , love and honour for others.
3. Mind your own business. Do not interfere in others’ business. Be clear when a business is not yours. Observe the rule of ‘need to know’. Live and let live.
4. Let others have their own opinions. You can have your own , different opinions. Offer a suggestion only if asked. Otherwise , keep mum. Do not succumb to the suggestions of others when you feel these are not right for you. If a conversation is becoming disrespectful to you , just leave it. If people make fun of you , do not shout back or react. Be free from the desire to fight back.
5. Have freedom and responsibility. Do what feels right to you .You do not need some one else’s approval .But you are responsible for your actions and decisions. You are responsible for what has so far happened in your life or whatever is happening now. Do not blame others .Do not let past , yours or someone else’s determine your present .Move on .
6. Do not expect attention from others. Accept when they are distant , indifferent or unfriendly.
7.Give hope to others when they are faltering. Be a cheer leader , and not a judge. Pray for them to help them . Allow others to save face in all interactions. Observe them and acknowledge their existence. But you need not remain visible.
8. If some one is angry , let him or her be. You do not need to assuage any one else’s anger.
9.Do not criticise , do not blame. Do not get affected by criticism or praise .Be beyond likes and dislikes.
10. Forgive others.
11. Be free from jealousy and comparison.
12.Give up striving for rewards, praise , and fruits of actions.
13.Be free from anger, greed and lust.
14. Be grateful.
Detachment cannot be achieved in a few days . It has to be a goal for life .It has to be practised at all moments , in all situations.