Meister Eckhart of the Rhineland maintained that the greatest Christian virtue was detachment, even more powerful than love. Love brings you closer to God, but detachment forces God to come to you. Ultimately, the physical body, the forms and structures of creation, and even parts of the psyche are all things that will eventually die. They are bound by time and do not last, a truth echoed constantly in Ecclesiastes. All that ultimately remains is God and the things of God, which are beyond the horrors of this world and which are everlasting and immortal – something St. Paul articulated so well in the Epistles.
So, detachment is essentially a virtue and a vehicle we can utilize to identify not with our mortal selves, but with our Eternal Spirit. In other words, we can consciously detach and be mindful of the importance of detachment as we journey in our prayer life. This will invariably bring greater peace, as the stress and pains we feel are of this world, not of God. It remains a core principle not only of Christian mysticism, but some form of it can be found in all great mystical traditions of the world’s religions.
In an experiential way, as we rest in centering prayer, we can begin to feel our deep authentic self merge and begin to realize that it is not our bodies and it is not in the future or past: our deep authentic self resides always in the Eternal Present; the infinite nature of our own Spirit is all that is left when we unhook and disentangle from our earthly concerns. This detachment from the mortal and new abode in the immortal is indeed living within our immortality. It is the very part of us that continues after death. We are indeed getting a beautiful foretaste of Heaven. Praise God!