Detachment – the Real Meaning

Detachment – the Real Meaning

In the teachings of all the genuine wisdom traditions a prominent principle is what may be called detachment, evenness of mind, undisturbability, equanimity, passionlessness, indifference.

It is sometimes called renunciation of worldly concerns.

The Sanskrit word is vairagya, from vi-raga, meaning something close to ‘dis-passion’.

This is an important quality in the non-dual teachings, yet it is one that can be easily misunderstood.

It does not mean to be uncaring to others or indifferent about doing things well or not, or having a generally negative view of life. In fact we need to heighten our sensitivity to the experience of other human beings, and be diligent in the tasks life presents to us, and to see life as a sublime opportunity.

Vairagya means seeing things in their right perspective and true significance. If we have given first place in our life to the discovery of the underlying reality in our own being, it follows naturally that we will be less preoccupied and dominated by the ups and downs that form part of daily experience. 

As such we have more inner freedom to experience things as they really are, to appreciate their value, to see them from various points of view, and to respond effectively.

So vairagya is a certain detachment from the surface appearances, not an aversion or endurance; it is a detachment born of the realization that our inner being, and what is most important to us, is not affected by them.

There is more on developing the quality of detachment, vairagya, in the non dual practice section.