Co-dependency, detachment, and complicity are some key words descriptive of stretches along the path of our spiritual lives. Life, as spiritual writer Fr. Richard Rohr says, is not pure detachment nor pure attachment but a dance between the two that might be likened to Your own desert detachments and returns to the attachments of the big city of Jerusalem – with all the steps that went between. Detachment is necessary to re-center and gain perspective – a perspective we’re compelled to take back to “the city” – a compulsion to which we “attach” ourselves.
Without at least periodic detachment life becomes a steady stream of co-dependency, says Rohr, making the culture addictive and absorbing individuals’ identities. The contemplative individual knows that he/she is complicit in this push-pull. Such a person places the spiritual journey between the necessary detachments and compulsive attachments of daily life, sometimes co-dependent, and always complicit in the good and evil in the world – but able, in stretches, to be independent and detached.
I see myself engaged in this dance but I never looked upon it as necessary or helpful. My perception has always been that a “balancing act” between detachment and attachment was the hallmark of spiritual tepidity. But if one stops to think about it, its value holds true even in the cloister – even for a hermit! Our greatest attachment in any situation is to ourselves. To detach from that, even if only occasionally,re-centers our focus and we can take that back with us regardless of our complicity in the foibles of our race.