Detachment is not something that is taught well or even at all in our culture. It seems to me that selfishness is promoted or encouraged far more than detachment as a virtue. We expect nuns and priests and other spiritual people to detach and we admire that, but the value in our culture is found in power and acquisition. At least that is my view of the state of our society.
I struggle with the idea that detachment doesn't mean not having things, it is the value and the "need" I place on those things. My recent chaotic life has been teaching me some of those lessons. What things do I need? That has been a question that I have had to answer continually.
I have also discovered that there is another side to detachment. This detachment involves removal from constant contact in my life from people who are in various ways toxic to me. This is a hard standard to measure. It is a fine line to draw in the sand. People who use me up and spit me out, people who are critical or un-supportive, these are people who are toxic to me.
I tend to be a care-taker, a rescuer, a responsible party for everyone else. This is not a healthy way to live. It gives me some pride and satisfaction, but it allows me no one to fall back on in my own hour of need. And it leads me to ask the question--what is the difference between love and pity?
As I sit in my comfortable little, mouse free room cramming every corner with stuff that I thought I "needed" and I work to re-make a life that is not wholly selfish and not wholly selfless, I work to become the person who God planned for me to be. I am on a journey to discover to detach and to have whatever joy and freedom can be found