The Subtle Art of Detachment

“Remain in the world, act in the world, do whatsoever is needful, and yet remain transcendental, aloof, detached, a lotus flower in the pond.”

Osho, The Secret of Secrets

I came across a wonderfully written article on “The Subtle Art of Detachment.” It was timely and provocative as I have been reflecting recently on where I am and where I want to go.

The article jots down a simple list of things to be detached from, which is ultimately everything. I loved how it broke things down succinctly and how it gave advice and reminders on how to apply this Art of Detachment in your life.

Detaching from life doesn’t mean you should disconnect from your experiences completely, but that you should find a way to observe them from a distance and place value on what is really important. For example, the relationship you have with someone is more important than the person. It is from the relationship that you learn about yourself and develop a wider perspective as you open yourself up to the thoughts and opinions of this person. The person could come and go or he could stay in your life forever. It’s great to value this person but he has his own path to take as well. You may not completely agree with all of his choices, but with detachment you can still honor the person and not impose your preferences on him. Whether this person leaves or changes, the lessons you’ve learned from your relationship with him will be of value for you for longer than the presence of this person in your life.

Another example could be your relationship with what you do – with your work. Times change. Supply and demand fluctuates every day. And yes, your work could provide you with security and a sense of fulfillment. But more important than that is what you put in your work that matters. One of the great teachings in the Bhagavad Gita is to do your best at all times, and then let the results go. You cannot control anything except yourself. You cannot control the future. So you do what you can now and let everything fall into place. Detachment does not mean that you do not put value in your work but that you free yourself from trying to control or own everything else that happens after your efforts.

We all change as does life. The subtle art of detachment teaches us to value life as it is now – in the present moment – as it is truly the only place of contentment, happiness, and clarity.


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