I have struggled with the contradiction that is me quite a lot over the last few years. When I was a teenager, a doctor suggested I may have bipolar disorder or a borderline personality. She referred me to a psychiatrist but I never went any of the appointments. Instead, I took her suggestion as a diagnosis and then used it as an excuse for any shitty behaviour. A little later, a different doctor gave me a prescription for antidepressants and anxiety meds while he sat and ate digestive biscuits. Sure, I persevered for a few weeks until I realised that my ability to orgasm was more important than feeling numb. I decided that feeling sad sometimes and feeling EVERYTHING sometimes was more important than feeling nothing all. of. the. time.
Most recently, I went to see a counsellor. Self-loathing comes very easy to me, it has a home in me where it is never a stranger. She asked me if there was anything about myself that I liked and I replied “my detachment”. I never saw her again because she didn’t think that was a positive trait and I disagreed.
Detachment is not something that is “done”, in my mind, but something we arrive at when we really understand the nature of reality. Detachment is a lofty and beautiful esoteric goal. I wouldn’t be able to do my job if I didn’t have the ability to detach and cut off emotions and not invest my whole being into someone else, I would be unable to remain equanimous in the face of loss, change, and disappointment.
My most detached moments are most easily experienced when I am feeling incredibly grounded and convinced of my divine nature. When I am not in this awareness, when I am in my ego, steeped in humanity, detachment is much harder to embody. And that, I suppose is when the idea of wanting to “adhere” to it, or effort myself into detachment, is quite hard to do. In those times, I do my best not to run from what is emerging. To instead sit in that heat. This feeling what I am afraid to feel, all the way through, becomes my orientation. Seeing where it shows up in my body, my chest, my jaw, my muscles. Usually it is a feeling of fear, of sadness, and often despair, however brief, around the severing of a very human attachment. The aspiration to not be affected by relationships, and I can see why one might want that.
True detachment and aloofness and disassociation can look very similar. However I am learning to believe in relationships, to believe in kindness. It is one of the great gifts of being human, fostering and nurturing and allowing these relationships to affect us, to move us, to heal us, to challenge us open to our wholeness, our bigness, to shake us awake and out of our sleepwalking, to correct what needs correcting, through a move of merciful interaction.
Sometimes detachment is easy. And sometimes – when I am PMSing, when I am tired, when I am overwhelmed – it is very difficult. I attempt to inquire into any given experience. And provided that I have time to process and inquire, I can usually reach a place of detachment, or neutrality.
Other times, I can be only somewhat neutral, and that has to be OK for that moment.