Detachment is a big thing in the Carmelite spiritual tradition, one of the things most noteworthy in the teachings of John of the Cross. During my thirty years in the monastery, I tried to learn how to practice it in a healthy manner. I think of myself as a caring person, but one who is detached in the sense Ali ibn Abi Talib means. Or in the sense found in the prayer of Ignatius Loyola: "Teach me to care and not to care." Think about it.
Anyway, as I am going through my boxes and files and tossing things, I am aware of how the roots of detachment can go deep. I won't mention all the things I threw out this morning, but I was surprised at how often I felt an internal tug to keep something that I knew I no longer needed, that I would never use, that I need not lug around any longer. I have a near-eidetic memory. There is plenty stored up there behind my eyes and between my ears. I don't need scraps of paper tucked away in a cluttered closet to remember people, places, times and things that have been important in my life.
John of the Cross says that it does not matter if a bird is tied to the ground by the thinnest of threads or a heavy chain. Until the tie is broken, the bird cannot fly.
In case Ali ibn Abi Talib is not familiar to you, he was the cousin and
son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, ruling over the Islamic
Caliphate from 656 to 661. Ali was also the first
young male who accepted Islam.