Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Attachment And Detachment

The concepts of attachment and detachment really intrigue me! The Bible said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21).

We desire to have the people, events, and things that we lack, but after we have tried our best to obtain them, we realize that they are not that special, or are not as ideal as we imagine. But we hold onto them, we are not willing to let go, and we live in the fear of losing them. These people, events and things have become our attachment. I think the motivation behind the life of attachment is fear.

According to some, detachment is an important discipline in devotional tradition, and is a path that leads us to be more intimate with God. They believe that since we attach because of fear, we naturally become afraid of entering the ‘darkness of detachment'. The prelude of detachment is often the disappointment of lives. We have various kinds of disappointment towards ourselves, others, church, relationships, marriage and career.

John the Cross described that as “lacking the desire for everything”, and starting to understand that the real satisfaction comes from God Himself, then we start to gradually release those people, events and things that we used to hold onto in the past, and focus on seeking Him. In the past, our desire was like a spoiled child, trying to find excitement and happiness recklessly.

Detachment helps us to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength, and through that brings healing of our souls. Since our psychological health is largely influenced by the object that we choose to attach to, if we place all our spiritual strength on various attachments, and request them to give us emotional satisfaction, our hearts will unavoidably experience conflict and anxiety. But if we put all our spiritual strength on God, only want to glorify Him, fear Him, rejoice in Him and hope in Him, we will experience wholeness and peace in our hearts.

Do you think it's true that we can only love God and people (the Great Commandment) when we detach from the people, events and things that we are attached to?

7 comments:

Kc said...

If by detach you mean release control then I totally agree. On the other hand I can think of no greater attachement than to love another. That is a decision to attach their need to your life.

audrey` said...

Hey little Msssy Kittty :)
Did you hear the very good news that our most beloved sis Corry, KC and Kristi are meeting face-to-face tomorrow?
Yeah! I'm so happy for them =D

Kitty Cheng said...

Kc, 'detache' is another one of those terms with a paradoxical / double meaning isn't it? I like your definition of it being 'releasing control', but so often we think of it as 'letting go'. And I also agree that to love is to attach their need to your life.

Kitty Cheng said...

Hey Audrey, WOW that's a great news. I wish I could meet with them (and you) face-to-face one day too ;)

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

We need to be careful here. 1 Timothy makes it clear that a man who does not support his wife and children is worse than an unbeliever.

There are soem forms of attachment that are necessary and vital.

I would not give much time to Catholic mystics like John of the Cross.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

Kitty Cheng said...

Of course a man must not stop supporting his wife and children, but that's surely not what 'detachment' means.

And I agree that attachment is necessary and vital to a certain extent.

I respect your choice, but personally I believe John of the Cross has had contributed to the discipline of the devotion tradition.

audrey` said...

A big yes, Kitty! :)
HaHa!