How detachment protects us from negativity
Suppose we are walking on a narrow path that slopes unpredictably and has ditches on both sides. We could walk much more steadily if the path was protected by safety rails. .
On the road of life, detachment is such a safety rail. Let’s see how.
During life, we will sooner or later encounter disappointment, wherein we don’t get something important: a long-sought promotion, a better job or a promising relationship. And such external non-materialization of our goals may leave us feeling internally discouraged, wherein we may think, “Maybe things will never work out for me; maybe there’s something intrinsically wrong with me; maybe fate is against me — maybe I should just quit.” If we compare the external disappointment to a sudden sloping of the narrow path of life, then internal discouragement is like the ditch on the side of that path. In life, we can’t avoid outer disappointments, but if we have built the safety rails of detachment, we won’t fall into the ditch of discouragement.
Detachment doesn’t mean that we don’t care for the results; it means that we care more for our consciousness. Our consciousness is our most essential resource for getting any worthwhile result. As long as our consciousness is positive and purposeful, we can always strive for a better result next time. If our consciousness becomes negative or apathetic, we won’t benefit much even if a wonderful result were handed to us on a platter. That’s why no result is worth risking our consciousness. Detachment protects our consciousness from falling into negative emotions when negative situations befall us.
Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita recommends that we work with detachment (02.47). Equipped with detachment, we can stay steady amid disappointments, learn what we can from the situations and move on.
Detachment is the safety rail that prevents outer disappointment from causing inner discouragement.
Think it over:
- How can detachment protect us?
- What disappointment triggers discouragement in you most frequently?
- In those situations, how can you cultivate detachment?
02.47: You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty.