In eastern traditions detachment or non attachment is an important part of the spiritual practice. The idea is that you should not become atatched to things or persons so that these will not control you.
“Things arise and she lets them come, things disappear and she lets them go. She has, but doesn’t possess, acts but doesn’t expect” – Lao Tzu
This is all well and good. It is good not to let things or people control you. It is good to remain free from external control and manipulation. If you get attached you run thr risk of creating an idol out of a thing or person. An idol is something that replaces the divine in your life and therefore becomes a pull away from the centre, from the divine source.
Some people, however, seem to think that this detachment means to be detached in situations and relationships in other words to not engage, to not feel and to not get affected by things or people. These people practice detachment like a Vulcan staying well away from all feeling and expression of feeling. The point is not to not feel in fact nothing could be farther from the truth. The point is that by detachment I can let go of the past and not get stuck in desire or longing for the future but to fully embrace the now!
Attachment and non attachment are simply not valid in the context of the present moment. When I am present in the moment, I am present. I observe, I feel and I act with passion and integrity. I open myself fully to the moment and what is. I engage with all of my heart all of my mind and all of my strength. I love deeply and I speak my truth firmly nwithout holding back any part of myself. It is when the moment has passed that I get to practice non attachment. I do not stay attached to the moment that was and linger in the past, neither do I reach into the future longing for the next moment expecting the next moment to be the same. When I do this I escape the present and therefore I escape true feeling, I run away from love and therefore distance myself from my true self and the divine spirit.
It is only in the now, in the present, that god or love exists. When I escape the present moment either by reaching for the past or the future I loose grip of reality. So when the moment is gone, I walk away, I detach from the moment and embrace the next moment with all that is brings. So non attachment is active, it is passionate, it is acutely present, engaged. When the moment is no more, I let go and I walk away, I do not hold on.
Now having said all that, when we repress feelings in the moment, we bottle them up and store them in our bodies. To release these past hurts is neccesary to have an authentic experience of the present not filtered by past hurt and joy. So at time we must reach deep into our physical bodies, pull out that bottled up emotion and let it become present in us in this moment. This will hurt just as it did when we first felt it and repressed it. Once the emotion has been felt and expressed fully we can release it and let it go. once we have cleared all stored up anger, pain, hurt, resentment, even joy and pleasure we can get a clear feeling and therefore a true experience of the present.
Non attachment or detachment then is not being un-affected but rather to let everything affect you fully, to feel deeply and to live every single moment to the fullest and then let go. This is non attachment.