I never heard this term until recently – A Hindu friend of mine used it during a conversation we were having about my disengagement from all politics. She thought it was a “stage of life” thing, I don’t deny there isn’t an element of that. My reasoning goes like this: I’m 60 years old and in the last six years I survived two illnesses that could have killed me, making me very aware of my own mortality. Life ain’t going on forever folks – the clock is ticking, and I hear it loud and clear. There is no shortage of injustice, cruelty, and hatred in the world, and on a macro scale there isn’t a goddamn thing I can do to fix it. The things and people that are broken are beyond my control. So I have made a conscious decision to pull back and disengage from everything negative that I can’t change. I’ve got a limited number of years left and I would like to focus my energy on things I can change.
I can try to spread positive energy through my day to day actions, and that’s about all I have control over. I’m hoping that by being a good human I can change things for the better on a micro scale. And that’s about it. The rest I’m just letting go. Now, having said that, I’d be the first to tell you that I’m not sure this is the right thing to do. But the reality is that I don’t know what the right thing to do is, and this is the best I can do for now. Maybe I’ll change my viewpoint at some point in the future…
I used to read the New York Times every day, and was somewhat of an internet news junkie. It was really hard just stopping all of that cold turkey; I still struggle with it. But ultimately I think it’s better for me. The constant influx of negative and biased bullshit that I was impotent to change wasn’t doing me any good. If humanity is hell bent on destroying itself, so be it. I’m choosing to try and not be part of what’s wrong, and attempting to do the right thing in whatever small way I can.
For the time being, I’m practicing compassionate detachment.