The Art of attached detachmentWhen all of us lead very complicated lives, we often tend to take solace in matters that are spiritual, or in matters that are philosophical as well. These range from the mundane tasks like visiting the temples at any point in time, or the churches or the mosques.
However, deep philosophical words of wisdom, passed on to us, by those who have already experienced inner peace, by those who have maintained a superb balance between their stupendous success in their professional lives and their personal lives, can leave a lasting impression on us, and also lead us to paths that are really superb in terms of exploring our own selves in a new context of unlearning, as many would like to call it.
One such thought is the concept of "attached detachment."
What does this mean? Is it just another fad dished out by some philosopher?
This concept was introduced to me, several years ago, by a follower of the great philosopher called Jiddu Krishnamurthy. I really do not know whether he understood this from his sayings, or sort of distilled it from some textbooks. He merely explained the concept, without ever giving me details of the books I needed to read or references to any article or whatever.
In very simple terms, the concept of attached detachment, simply means living in the present, allowing a huge focus only on the current task, but being totally detached from any other thought, be that official or personal, even if that were so disturbing.
Sometime ago, a lady newsreader on television was praised when she was announcing the death of her own husband. She knew that it was her husband who was dead, yet did not show it at all.
She would have come very close to practicing the concept of attached detachment.
The concept allows us to be in the present, in the "here and now" and, in that sense, makes us do what we need to do only at this particular moment, and forget about everything else. When I asked him about what I should do when I faced multiple thought patterns at any point in time, my learned friend merely explained that such a thought process is only detrimental to one's mental health.
Let me explain, with a help of a superb example, which he used. In those days, that is, in the early eighties, Chennai city did not have so many bridges that have now eased traffic to a huge extent. He did mention about one railway gate that was a huge menace to traffic : the one near the famous Madras Christian College, near Tambaram at Chennai. (Today, there is a superb four way bridge that has made Tambaram a huge center of development and the Railways have already made it a third terminal).
He asked me a very simple question : what if I were caught in one side, with a two-wheeler, with at least one hundred vehicles sandwiched in the small space? What if I were to listen to some verbal abuse between two other people, who would argue among themselves for the space that each would think, has been eaten away by the other person? What if I had three beggars pouncing on me to give them some money?
My friend went on to suggest that except for the beggars who needed some help, if at all I thought they really needed some money, I should mentally put off any other thought. My only thought would be to reach my apartment, safely, as this was some six kilometers away, and I had to just think of the task on hand: safe travel to my place. Am attached only to that particular task, but detached to everything else. I should never show any anger ( which is but natural) towards anyone or the noisy situation, where so many vehicles would zip past in a very fast fashion, once the gate opened.
It is a very natural thing to get angry or even try to broker peace between the two guys fighting. I might end up feeling very happy or miserable, depending on outcomes. But why should I get into it, if I do not know the outcome?
The art of attached detachment, as explained above, is very difficult to practice. It is more so, when our mind is bombarded with some much of information through the internet and social media. Yet, the concept is so powerful and should be given a very serious try.
I really do not know the source of this concept, for I have not come across the concept being explained in any book. However, that superb friend of mine, who was a multi-millionaire from the then undivided AP, was a superb human being who knew what it takes to be deeply philosophical, and also very level headed.
That both of us studied in the same prestigious Loyola College, Chennai, at that point in time, is all that I remember. But every bit of what he said is still fresh in my mind, till this very minute.
Members may please share any personal experience that resonates so well with the concept of attached detachment, as explained above.