When a friend asked me what I feel I lack in my life and I replied: “I think I lack detachment”, she mulled over it for a while before saying: “What if a person becomes so detached that the person becomes unfeeling?”

I know that true detachment doesn’t mean being not compassionate and indifferent to the suffering of others, but at that moment I could not think of how to explain or reply to her statement. A few days ago I read this excerpt from a book:

“One of the elements of Love is Upeksha, which means equanimity,  non-attachment, non-discrimination, even-mindedness, or letting go. People sometimes think Upeksha means indifference, but true equanimity is neither cold nor indifferent. If you have more than one child, they are all your children. Upeksha does not mean that you don’t love. You love in a way that all receives your love without discrimination.

In a conflict, even though we are deeply concerned, we remain impartial, able to love and to understand both sides. We shed all discrimination and prejudice, and remove all boundaries between ourselves and others. We have to put ourselves “into the person’s skin”. When that happens, there is no “self” and no “other”.”

A person with true detachment is not one who lacks compassion or empathy. Rather, they are able to look beyond social castes, family backgrounds, personality flaws and all the myriad of differences we concern ourselves with, because they would see no difference between their Self and Others. This would make them naturally expansive, seeing the One in All and the All in One. When that state of true detachment, or Upekshsa, is achieved, compassion and the ability to feel what others are feeling will come naturally.

If I could have that conversation with my friend again, I might be able to explain myself better now.

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