“We can appreciate without attaching ourselves to the things of this world. It sometimes happens that if a man loses his fortune he is so disheartened that he dies or becomes insane. While enjoying the things of this world we must remember that one day we shall have to do without them.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 134
I’m featuring two recent posts from UrbanMonk.net, both dealing with the widely recognized (and, frequently misunderstood) spiritual principle of Detachment.
The first post, Attachment: Understanding the Origen of Human Suffering, contains these ideas:
“This teaching is marvelous, for there is nothing in there that cannot be verified simply by looking into your own experience. Look deeply into your own life, the times you have cried, the times you have raged. What was the cause of it all? The next time you are in pain, pause, and look. Ask yourself – why? What am I holding on to?
“Without attachment, suffering does not exist. Let go of your attachments, little by little. By and by you will see the freedom, the happiness that is there.”
“We have spent so much of our lives, every waking moment, following desire. We expend huge amounts of energy and time; we make extreme sacrifices, in the hope of finding happiness by attaining them. But as Lorne Ladner says in The Lost Art of Compassion, rarely does it occur to us the very way we go about seeking happiness has been causing our problems.”
There is much more of interest !
Part Two, How Our Cravings and Attachments Cause Our Pain and Suffering, goes even deeper into this vital spiritual principle:
“…when we crave, when we cling, we do not see people as they are. We are projecting our neediness, our sorrows – all the garbage inside us – onto them. And it is an insult. For them not to be seen as a human being; but for what they can do for us. Make me feel good, make me feel loved, make me feel safe, feed me, take care of me, impress my friends. That is all they are reduced to – a function, a service.
“And it is just as likely they are doing it to us too, and then what do we have? Not two human beings together, but two images, two roles, two cardboard cut-outs. Where has the humanity gone? This is so cruel, and yet so painstakingly common that it simply seems normal.”
“A rich man could have everything he wanted, and enjoy them all the more without the cravings, the attachments. There is nothing wrong with having most of the things we desire. Naturally, some cravings are just plain nasty – wanting to hurt another person is a fine example. But if you want money, or love, or any of those, then go for it. Does removing your attachment to health mean you stop exercising, stop looking after yourself?
“Most definitely not! Chasing new joys, setting new goals, all of these can still be pursued, but from a place of freedom, and not from the unease of craving.”
There is also much more of interest in this second post of the series !
“Our greatest efforts must be directed towards detachment from the things of the world; we must strive to become more spiritual, more luminous, to follow the counsel of the Divine Teaching, to serve the cause of unity and true equality, to be merciful, to reflect the love of the Highest on all men, so that the light of the Spirit shall be apparent in all our deeds, to the end that all humanity shall be united, the stormy sea thereof calmed, and all rough waves disappear from off the surface of life’s ocean henceforth unruffled and peaceful.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 87