Meister Eckhart “Whoever would be serene and pure needs but one thing, detachment.”
“I don’t know why I get so caught up in drama,” one of the Native kids says. “I always react by jumping out of my skin half way to the door. I wish I could be calm and say something smart for once.”
“We all get caught in a box of first reactions,” I say. What is fortunate is that we can take a second step back and decide how we want to respond to something.”
“How do you do that?” he says. “I just freeze up.
I try to get it to all fit together. “Somehow we get caught up as much in our guilt over our reaction as we do the original scene. Sometimes we think that s something factual we are looking at rather than recognizing all the screens we have that interpret what we see.”
“Someone raises his voice and I start to run away. I have already interpreted the scene as bad and my choices reduced to one. What I can do is step back from both the situation and the reaction and choose how I want to relate NOW that I have already judged both me and the scene. Maybe I can decide to take a walk, or talk things out, or go stand be someone else. This step back which can be by the mind or the feet lets me truly choose how I want things to go rather than being ruled by my initial emotion.”
We go through several scenarios and try to understand how our interpretations change when we are able to apply a little detachment from our immediacies.
After some reflection he says, “You are right about the guilt. I hate myself as a quitter and a coward who runs away and I keep making the situation worse. Maybe we can practice this a little.”
This is the skill of detachment. There is no objective situation, only our interpretation of what we see and hear. All our reactions trap our reality unless we can step back. It gives us another chance to relate in wholeness to whatever is given.