Disconnection - The Near Enemy Of Non-Attachment?


Grasping, trying, desperate for signs of approval.  Showing off, dominating, making people laugh, anything to feel their validation.  Suffocating at the prospect of rejection, try harder, tell them a story, make them feel better.  Anything to make them love me.

This is often a voice in my head – the voice of my attachment.  In its grip I am capable of magical entertainment, of rescuing, of charming diversion, and I am lost.  My focus is inward on myself

Big heart, compassion, beauty, colour, joy.  Love for everything as it is.  Embracing impermanence.  Let it go.  Acceptance, calm.  Things are as they are.

This is a more helpful voice in my head – the voice of my non-attachment.  In these moments I feel at ease, at one, powerful and without ego.  My focus is in service of others.

What’s the point?  What’s the f**king point?  Of me, of you, of any of us, of life itself?  We’re born, some die immediately.  We do stuff, then we die.  What was it all for?  Why should I care about anything?  It really doesn’t matter.  Nothing matters.  I don’t matter.

And this is a more destructive voice in my head – the voice of my disconnection.  In its grip I am capable of stealing, cheating, lying; who knows where that list ends?  My focus is on the sheer nothingness of the abyss.

If attachment is the clear enemy of non-attachment then, for me, disconnection is the near enemy.  In my efforts to be free from attachment I sometimes find myself here instead of there.  Or I'm afraid of letting go of my attachment because the fear of disconnection is more potent than the hope of liberation. 

Looking back at 2016, perhaps the knottiest, juiciest work with challenger leaders has been about spotting and breaking free from the habits of the past.  And this has often involved an intensive wrestle with “this is the way we do things here” or something similar.   This collection of habits, ways of working, processes, establishment practice etc we often call the status quo, which we can become very attached to.  And asking people to take a step away from the familiarity of the status quo can feel like stepping into the abyss.   If we are not attached to something then we must be attached to nothing – right?  And that doesn’t sound much like a winning strategy.

It can be really easy for us to describe the step away from the status quo as a liberating, non-attachment step towards transformation, achievement, success (insert goal of choice) etc.  And it’s a very hard step to actually take.   I bow to those people I had the privilege of working with in 2016 who had a go at taking that step.    

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