Monday, October 03, 2005

So Close That I'm Far Away

Detachment is something that all of us know is good for us....perhaps even the best thing for us. Several great scholars and philosophers of the past have even held that detachment is the only way to attain peace and bliss, as it is the path what leads us to lose desire. But then, come to think of it, what does detachment mean? After all, how does one become detached? Can I just run away from all that I am attached to?

It's a funny thing when you really get down to it, because several times I see people running away from things. We all run away from some things which is really funny in a perverse way, because we do so knowing fully well, that the things we try to avoid the most are the things that generally end up crossing our paths somewhere anyway....so I guess perhaps it would be better to just be prepared to face things and not run away rather than run all the while and ultimately be caught unprepared.

The reason for this, in my opinion, is that we only run away from things when we know somewhere within that there is a high likelihood of that thing happening. And happen it does, more often than not. And yet, inspite of having faced this time and time again, we persist with our avoidance strategy. We continue to run away and hide and derive consolation in the belief that we tried our best not to let the situation arise at all.

Attachment is the strangest thing that we avoid though. it is avoided, by those that try to avoid it, in the hope that it will lead to a detachment. But this is exactly where things get twisted a little. For how can one be detached, simply by trying to avoid attachment? The more you try to run away from objects that you fear getting attached to, the more you are thinking about attachment itself. On the other hand, if one allows those objects to remain in the vicinity and then rises above the attachment that grows within, then one can truly claim to be detached. After all, how can you claim to be detached when you don't know how to deal with attachment?

There are people who would have you believe that solitude is a pre-requisite for detachment. is it really so? I fear not. For, in my modest opinion solitude just means that there is no one around you physically. Detachment is very far removed from this. In my solitude, I may be attached to far more things than another who sits in the midst of a crowd....and his detachment would be far greater than mine.....for detachment is a mental state, it is not physical in the least.....not the way I see it at any rate.

What then is detachment? For me, detachment rests in the feeling of not needing anybody or anything to be content. People or objects being there need not imply attachment. The ancient sages were often married and had active family lives and yet, they were detached. Detachment did not mean that they did not care about their children or wives. It just meant that they would not crumble, should a misfortune befall anyone around them.

As I arose to leave today from the coffee shop, a strange thought crossed my mind. I had been but a few yards away from an obnoxiously loud group of people. yet, in all the while that I had spent sitting there, I had not even noticed the noise level. Detached, some might say.....but that would hardly be a true statement of the facts.... It was a feeling of solitude, yes.....I was alone, although I was so close to them. Yet, I was not detached for a single moment....my thoughts saw to that......

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

a detached person would take good fortune n misfortune with equanimity...
so yeah...if u cut urself from the world u ain't gonna be affected by things arnd...n so cannot claim detachment...detachment isn't abt not caring...it's abt being neutral...
without being indifferent...guess neutral is not the right word...physically it's abt no change in heart beat n adrenalin flow no matter what

Susie

Anonymous said...

Detachment...well...i keep wondering..when we talk of attachment we are talking of two ppl rite?and being a lesser mortal that i am i so wish i cud detach myself from a myriad things so i wudnt get hurt...but wishing/thinking/wanting doesnt help...and u r damn rite wen u say dat da more u think u wanna get detached da more u think about that person or for dat matter da attachment dat u share...U get hurt wen u r attached and da other is apparently detached...its a state of mind...its da way ur heart feels abt someone...something...and trust me u cant help it...and nor can da other person...There is this song dat goes...'..coz i cant make u love me if u dnt...u cant make ur heart feel something it wont...'...how rite... i so wish i cud get detached wen i wanted to...oh! how i wish i cud experience the eternal sunshine of a spotless mind...

Anonymous said...

and yea...well...i came across ur blog a few months back...i have been following it ever since..i donno it seems kinda uncanny but u invariably write stuff so congruous with my state of mind...its like wen i read ur blog i feel it gives out a msg to me...u knw smthin...ur blog helped me think abt a few things again frm a diff. perspective...make a few imp. decisions...so Thanx.. :-)
and boy! Do u write well...and how!!

ciao!!

Darth Midnightmare said...

@Susie: Damn right...as usual. Somehow this is one of those things where I believe words fall way too short of being able to express what one wants to say....the closest I can think of is the word you used....equanimity....

@Anon: Thanks for the compliment. As far as detachment is concerned (and by definition therefore, attachment as well), it need not be about 2 people. It could be an attachment to an inanimate object as well. You could be attached to just about anything. For example, I am very attached to my phone. I feel almost naked without it.

As for the one-sided attachment that you mentioned, trust me, I know what you mean when you say that you can't help thinking about it. Seen it and also been there for a while. But I really think that most of it is controllable. You CAN actually help things. I find that most of the time letting go is so difficult because the first step is so damned hard. Like quitting cigarettes I guess, where the first 2-3 weeks are torturous. It is that initial barrier that stops us most of the time. And that is precisely why, after a certain amount of time, when you do scale that barrier, you feel a sudden liberation from it all.....

Darth Midnightmare said...

Oh and before I forget, why use the term, "lesser mortal"? Isn't that what all of us are? It's a puzzling term I guess.....lesser.....lesser than whom? And in what respect?

abhash said...

detachment is liberation is marsh is yearning is paradox.
again, this is just an opinion.

luke said...

well detatchment 100%is out of question though ...the level may vary and the power to overcome may actually differ...if tahts got at a higher plane tahts where u ...take the reins of ur senses in ur hands and win the battle ...i.e if u consider it though...:)a battle i mean...

neeta said...

"The more you try to run away from objects that you fear getting attached to, the more you are thinking about attachment itself".

The perfect catch-22 situation, isn't it? The weird thing is it's difficult to find the starting point of detachment. What do you think triggers it off? Does Nirvana really depend on our being completely detached? One thing is for sure though, detachment definitely sets you free. Maybe, Nirvana then is just an euphemism for being free. I'm rambling.