Not actual detachments, but I have been thinking about this a lot lately as I continue to read the Bhagavad Gita. I have just finished the portion where Krishna reveals himself in all his glory and immenseness to Arjuna, and then Arjuna asks him to be just Krishna again (my mind boggled at the description, so I can only imagine what Arjuna was feeling, seeing this all in person), and asks how to be a more perfect devotee. Krishna tells him to live in love, and then explains again how one can do that, finally instructing Arjuna to act with detachment, without anticipating an outcome, neither seeking pleasure or avoiding pain.
I can understand this somewhat, but my conscious mind always gets in the way. I think that at these times of confusion the Self speaks loudest, but the physical mind becomes frustrated because this knowledge is bigger than its capacity to reason, or at least it is when the physical mind is where mine is, tied to a physical form.
Everything in my life is physical and sensory, as far as my brain is concerned. It feels. It sees. It thinks. At times the Self guides it a little, and I am able to act on the feelings of others. I can anticipate the experiences of other people in the same situation, and acting selflessly becomes easier.
But then I get to thinking again (sense a theme here?) and I am reminded of a scene in Delhi 6, when Abhishek Bachchan’s character becomes upset at his grandmother, who has accepted the terrible violent situation around her as “the way things are,” and tells her that that’s just avoidance, and she needs to do something about it. She needs to act to change things.
Gandhi, beloved by millions, not only in India, acted to change things. So I wonder if there’s a difference between attachment and acceptance. Is it possible to see one’s role in a situation as an agent of change, and still act with detachment, or is acceptance of a situation as it is what is meant there? Can those of us who have not realized the Self fully be this detached in our lives, or are we stuck in the cycle of rebirth, forever creating new karma that we will have to reconcile later?
I like to think that there’s a steadfast determination that’s a third option, where you do what you must because it is what you must do, but you are not upset when things don’t work out the way you wanted. You’re not ecstatic when they do, because that feeling fades and you find yourself chasing it to the next experience, and the next, and soon you’re doing things so that you feel good, not because you must do them.
And while I can articulate that fairly easily, putting it into practice is not so easy.