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Thursday, December 4, 2008

What does it mean to be detached?

I continue to explore and deepen my understanding of "detachment" through my yoga practice and real life experiences by increasing my awareness of this concept - in a nut shell i have become much more aware of the need to detach from situations that create imbalance in my life. Its in this exploration, awareness and experimentation that I feel I am approaching a deeper understanding of it.

But this exploration also leads to more questions and concerns in my mind. What does it really mean to be detached? Does it mean that when I detach from something or someone have I become cold and dis compassionate? Does detachment means "avoidance"? Does it make me weak and meek? Does it prevent me from fighting back when I need to fight? Does it mean I become a victim and victimized, when I feel the need to detach from situation where I may feel oppressed and at the losing end of some battle. When do you detach and what do you detach from? All these questions brew in my head, every time I find myself in a situation where I simply detach from.

Yesterday I found myself in a situation, where my detachment compelled me to be unresponsive. I was put into a situation where I was to compete with someone for a position, that I had no desire to seek or asked for, but was compelled to be in the situation to avoid a worse situation. I had no desire to win, so I lost because I simply detached from the need to win. Winning would have been great for my ego and ego of others, but losing meant keeping peace and neutrality. But who likes to lose? In the past I would have never inclined to put myself in such a situation - I would rather just walk away or duke it out. I didn't fight and I chose to simply detach and not even participate in voting or canvasing. I lost, but did I really lose?

It concerned me and I questioned if I should have taken a different path. If I was put in the fray wasn't the right thing to fight and put my best foot forward to win vs becoming detached? Once it was all over, I was relieved I lost, but was it really over for me as I maintained my detachment from the whole process including not participating in the rejoicing emails that followed. I clapped for the winner, as I truly felt that was the best outcome, but if I was detached, I wanted to detach in completion and not be part of the winning or losing, the rejoicing or the disappointment. I had to remain neutral by not voting and not seeking and finally not rejoicing for the winner as a good loser. It did concern me and question - was this truly detachment and essence of Patanjali's yoga sutra or simply an avoidance of hurt.

I questioned if at the end in such instances, was there really a winner or a loser? Does it really matter who wins or who loses, if the goal at the end for us is to merge our soul with the higher power. My happiness and contentment comes from observing and experiencing what comes at me in the present and then let that present moment dissolve to the next moment. The less I judge it, the less stressed I feel. Is that the true essence of detachment?

1 comment:

bindifry said...

i don't think non-attachment is meant to mean apathy. there's a fine line. maybe attachment causes stress cause we can not control our feelings towards it? good questions. the sutras talk much about this.