A Letter to Neale

Reader Question:

Dear Neale...
I have heard you talk about detachment/attachment. You say one can have caring without attachment, but I need more discussion of how that is done.  I have lost 3 pets within the last 9 months, and attachment/loss is much on my mind. Where can I look for more insight?  Perhaps one of your books discusses it in depth, and I have forgotten. And, by the way, I enjoy your bulletins very much.  Contrary to what others appear to have told you, I did not find your bulletins too long.  I miss the more in-depth discussion they used to contain.  


Neale Responds

My dear Amy...Thank you so much for the kind words. I, too, like the longer version, because it gives me a chance to talk more fully about things. So let’s dive right in here and take a look at your question.

“Caring” is not the same as “attachment,” and “detachment” does not mean in any way that we have stopped caring. It simply means that our own personal happiness is not dependent on something or someone else. At least, not in the long run.

It is very natural to mourn the loss of a pet that has meant much to you—to say nothing of another human being. So temporary, passing sadness is certainly normal, and very okay in terms of one’s mental or spiritual health. When sadness lasts a very long time, however, and when a person doesn’t seem to be able to move on with their life with any joy, this may mean that a person has placed the power to create happiness in something or someone else...much as a person on drugs becomes dependent on that substance to find blissfulness.

A spiritually healthy person knows him- or herself to be the source of their continuing happiness, not another person, place, or thing. This does not mean that we do not find joy in something outside of ourselves...but it does mean that we are not dependent on what is outside of ourselves to bring joy to our lives.

In truth, it is we who bring happiness to the events and people of our lives. By the thoughts that we hold do we insert into moments and events the emotions that we experience. We literally put the joy IN to these life encounters...that is, we “enjoy” them. And should a particular person, or a pet, no longer be a part of our life, the one thing we have not lost is the ability to insert happiness and joy into other moments and events.

Again, I would say that we will not usually do this the very next day, or the next week, or even, perhaps, not for some months. But surely, as life goes on, we find it within ourselves to share the joy that naturally springs from a fulsome heart in new situations and circumstances. If we do not, then we have allowed ourselves to think of something outside of ourselves as the actual source of our joy, rather than that into which we place our joy and love.

Lack of attachment means simply lack of confusion as to Who We Are and where our joy comes from. “Caring” is an outward moving energy, whereas “attachment” is in inward moving energy. Caring is a giving energy, attachment is a receiving energy.

I know all about attachment. I have allowed myself to become and to be attached to many people, places, and events in my life. So I understand it and appreciate how it can come into our experience. But in my later years I have watched very closely to make sure that my “attachment” to things is not about “caring” for ME rather than caring for someone or something else.

Yes? Can you see the difference?
Hope this helps!

Sending Pure Love,


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