An Opportunity to Practice Detachment

May 5, 2017

A few of my friends recently asked my opinion on how to practice detachment in light of what’s currently going on with our government, namely the repeal of the ACA. Letting go of our idea of how things should be is challenging, especially when we seem to be witnessing a rampant and exponential epidemic of ignorance in our elected officials. Choices, decisions, and legislation that benefit the few and strips healthcare from millions defies common sense, decency, and the solemn duty of our leaders to serve their constituents. Faced with such blatant unawareness, many feel betrayed and enraged while at the same time helpless in the face of a heartless machine that seems poised to destroy everything this country holds dear.

I too have felt these emotions, however, allowing ourselves to be victims of the melodrama won’t help us. We have to see the bigger picture; the long game of the evolution of consciousness and our nation. From this perspective, here are a few reminders that help me to detach from how I think things should be:

• Our country, as great as it is, is still a youngster when compared to many of the nations on the world stage. Every great nation goes through rough patches and elects jackasses to positions of power. They make fear-based decisions that favor short term rewards over long-term sustained well-being. We’re not above making horrendous mistakes. We’ve done it before, and this time we’ve picked a doosey of a jackass. What did we think was going to happen? It’s really no surprise. It’s like watching a teenager go through their awkward phase. It’s wince-worthy and painful to watch, but they’ve gotta go through it to reach adulthood. Yelling at a room full of teenagers to grow up doesn’t help them get there any faster. Sometimes all we can do it roll our eyes at the magnitude of their stupidity and know that things are going to come back to bite them in the end. This isn’t about comeuppance. It’s simply the recognition that whenever energy goes to one extreme, it eventually returns to a more balanced state.

• No karmic debt ever goes unpaid. In other words, the choices and actions taken by our leaders right now will have far reaching effects, many of which will undoubtedly be to their detriment. Not understanding the nature of cause and effect doesn’t mean jack when it comes time for the consequences to come back around. Karma is a force of nature that doesn’t need your belief in it to work. When you make self-serving decisions that harm millions of people, the scales will eventually balance themselves out. When you put the interests of your party above the interests of the nation, the consequences can be dire. Failing to consider the long term effects of a piece of legislation can have powerful, far reaching karmic implications that you will be accountable for in one form or another. Many of these elected officials are up for re-election in 2018; chances are good that their recent behavior will amount to political suicide of the highest order. And for those that either voted for this band of fools and their clueless leader or those that didn’t care enough to show up so they could sit back and watch the world burn, the ironic karmic payoff could well strip them of their healthcare.

• This may be the very wakeup call we need as a nation. As unpleasant as the current state is for aware, awake, critically thinking Americans, we have to admit that we get the leaders that reflect our collective consciousness. It’s time we faced the fact that there is an ugly underbelly of greed, racism, misogyny, xenophobia, bigotry, egoism, entitlement, inequality, and ignorance in this country and we have elected a leader (and majority party) that personifies and legitimizes those values. These foul and putrid qualities have crept out of the shadows for all to see. But this ultimately a good thing. When we shine the light on our filth, we initially recoil at the horror (as increasing numbers of Americans have done in recent months), but once the shock fades, we roll up our sleeves and get to the nasty work of taking out the trash. This was a necessary step. The shadow (collective unconscious garbage) has to be recognized before it can be purified. When enough of us see things for what they really are (rather than denying or being indifferent) things will have to change. There’s nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. For some, losing their healthcare while facing a life threatening illness may unfortunately be the necessary tipping point that helps take us to a critical mass. When that happens, change will come.

• This too shall pass. Knowing that everything in our material world is impermanent, it becomes a little easier to witness this stage in our evolution with detached involvement. Seen in its true light, this play of epic government stupidity will eventually pass away in one way or another. This is the ultimate undoing of the fundamentalist worldview – it goes against the laws of nature. Change, growth, progress, evolution; these are the hallmarks of the natural world. Anything that doesn’t grow, change, or adapt eventually becomes rigid, stagnant, and ultimately passes away. In the greater scheme of things, when facing the tidal wave of change, you can either dig your heels in and hope to ride out the changes, or learn to surf. In light of the exponentially rapid progress our modern world is making (in the form of technology, social progress, equality, etc.) it will eventually become too uncomfortable to maintain the old worldviews for very much longer. The old guard intuitively knows this, which is why they have dug themselves in so deep. This gives the illusion that that they are “winning”, when in actuality it is the last stand of a crumbling regime.

• Don’t lose heart. Those of us choosing the path of conscious growth, awareness, critical thinking, compassion, and evolution must not abandon our commitment to creating a better, more peaceful, just, forward thinking, and sustainable world for all. There has never been a time when the practices of yoga, meditation, martial arts, and other paths of self-transformation have been more important. Seek out the causes of your own ignorance, root out your shadow, stand up and speak for truth, kindness, equality, and strength in all its forms. Resist ignorance, call out hatred, fear, and oppression. Be the light, be the peace that you wish to see in the world. Be so strong that nothing can disrupt your peace. Live your values with conviction and passion. Believe that these higher values will always triumph over the darkness, no matter how bleak things may appear.

When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it – always. 

​ – Mahatma Gandhi

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