One of the lines I keep coming across is, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
To keep that in mind is to practice the yogic or Buddhist idea of detachment. It’s practicing and expanding our capacities to dispassionately witness our human experience, those happenings and stories that through our egos we identify as good, bad or whatever.
When we’re attached in that egoic way, we get defensive, anxious, fearful and prideful about those happenings and stories we tell ourselves. We close ourselves off, tighten up, lock in with those stories of who we are and what’s right, wrong, good, bad.
I find dispassion and detachment from those human, egoic identities to be especially difficult in recent years with the clusterfuck of American society and politics such as it is. Much of the time, I am certain these ongoing and seemingly increasing violations of human decency, safety, empathy, compassion and rights are absolute. It feels very clear, very dark, and very obvious that this human experience is negative. Absolutely.
But absolute thinking is rigid. It’s attached to our egos’ sense of being able to identify what is right, and that we are right in that thinking. It does not allow for more possibilities, more knowledge and perspectives to enter our awareness. It’s closed off.
Overall, I trust the concept of the spiritual experience, and the greater concepts that this human experience is not everything, and that I am not all knowing about it.
I look at it like this: We know connection because we know disconnection, light because we know darkness. We know relief when we have known pain. The trauma of a new birth provides the joy and possibilities of life. Fire burns away the unnecessary and leaves us with the essential, spiritually speaking. Nothing is static and rigidly definable.
What we experience today might seem to have a negative impact until we gain new information tomorrow that helps deepen our understanding, and we now recognize it’s actually pointing us in a direction we are grateful for.
When we’re detached, we’re equipped with the peace to regard today’s events lightly and know more information will come tomorrow, and the day after, and on and on. It’s a perpetually unfolding experience. One that is far more enlightening and entertaining when held lightly and with a detached distance.
Detachment is a practice. And like any practice, where it’s most uncomfortable, most uncertain and where we are most doubtful is a sign of where we most need to focus our light, our optimism and our work.
I will not presume my finite and narrow comprehension of this human experience is the be all, end all of existence and purpose. Isn’t it possible there are levels of awareness and being that are beyond our current knowledge and our limited visions?
That is what I am reaching to know and accept in my practice, that I am limited and there is much I do not know. There are possibilities I am not aware of, worlds and vibrations of energy I cannot dispute. Shouldn’t that encourage openness to the possibilities?
So I take this tool for detachment in good faith, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
Photo by Hal Gatewood