Detachment versus Intimacy

I am confused. I have read so many things about the Buddhist ideal of detachment and other things regarding being one (intimate) with whatever task one may be part of. If I give myself wholeheartedly to my task at hand, how am I detached?
Right now, I would really like some detachment. Taking care of Barry is taking a toll emotionally. I refuse to turn away. I am doing what needs to be done, taking one day at a time.
By throwing myself into my tasks, I am on an emotional roller coaster. The upside is that, no matter how depressed or angry I get, my feelings change. No feeling, no matter how distressing, is forever. I don’t think there is a way to live my life at a detached emotional distance, however desirable that sounds at times.
Is there a way to be intimate with and somehow detached at the same time from a task? Intimacy seems to be a Zen principle, which seems incompatible with my idea of the Buddhist principle of detachment.

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About cdhoagpurple

I live in Michigan. I was Greek Orthodox (and previously Protestant), but now am more Buddhist than anything. I am single now (through the till-death-do-you-part clause of the marriage contract). My husband Barry was a good man and celebrated 30 years in AA. I am overly educated, with an MBA. My life felt terminally in-limbo while caring for a sick husband, but I am free now. I see all things as being in transition. Impermanence is the ultimate fact of life. Nothing remains the same, good or bad.

One response to “Detachment versus Intimacy”

  1. khalkinised says :

    Hi there. On reading your post, I agree the buddhist ideas can be confusing.

    The idea of detachment focusses on intent. Why do you do the task? Are you hoping for personal gain or reward? If so this is not detachment. Detachment means detachment from ego or ahamkara. No longer thinking me, me, me. Doing the act dharmically not for the possible personal fruits of the labour.

    So is it possible to be detached and intimate? Well, detachment purely focusses on intention. Intimacy has nothing to do with intent, but just the manner in which the act is completed. If you are intimate with a task, it means you care about it and how it is done. You are fully connected it not the fruits it may bear.

    So yes, you CAN be detached and intimate!!

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