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Rabbi Rami Shapiro: “How Can I Be Detached About My Children?”

Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler

I am a spiritual seeker and mother of three. I keep running into and resisting the notion of detachment. Am I supposed to detach from my children and stop loving them?Rabbi Rami: Detachment is about liberating ourselves from clinging—not loving. Loving your children means (among other things) helping them to cultivate a sense of uniqueness, autonomy, and integrity without losing their sense of interdependence and responsibility. This requires that you detach yourself not from them but from your idea of who they should become, and that you open your heart ever wider to who they really are.I’ve been reading tons of self-help books lately, trying to get my life on track. They all seem to be saying the same thing: surrender, surrender, surrender. Is it always time to surrender?I believe it is, but you have to be careful regarding what it is you are surrendering. Don’t surrender your health, dignity, responsibility, liberty, or rights, or your capacity for critical thinking, creativity, and love. Do surrender those things that rob you of these. Surrender everything that is not in service to what you think is …

Writer and speaker Rabbi Rami Shapiro is the author of numerous books, including Perennial Wisdom for the Spiritually Independent.

Rabbi Rami Shipiro

Rabbi Rami Shapiro is an award-winning author, essayist, poet, and teacher. His spiritual advice column, "Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler," addresses reader questions pertaining to religion, spirituality, faith, family, God, social issues, and more.

His newest book is Surrendered—The Sacred Art: Shattering the Illusion of Control and Falling into Grace with Twelve-Step Spirituality.

He has this to say about religion: “To me, religions are like languages: no language is true or false; all languages are of human origin; each language reflects and shapes the mindset of the civilization that speaks it; there are things you can say in one language that you cannot say or cannot say as well in another; and the more languages you know, the more nuanced your understanding of life. Judaism is my mother tongue, yet in matters of the spirit I strive to be multi-lingual. In the end, however, the deepest language of the soul is silence.”

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