Detachment.

Jesus said, "Be passersby." Gospel of Thomas, 42.

Consider yourself as a traveller and live like a guest. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 2020.

Be in this world as though you were a stranger or a traveller. Hadith, quoted after: Novak Philip, The World's Wisdom, P.322.

Colors blind the eye. Sounds deafen the ear, flavors numb the taste. Thoughts weaken the mind. Desires wither the heart. The Master observes the world but trusts his inner vision. He allows things to come and go. His heart is open as the sky. Tao te Ching 12, quoted after Novak Philip, The World's Wisdom, P.150.

Do not store up treasures for yourself on earth, where moths and woodworms destroy them and thieves can break in and steal. But store up treasures for yourself in heaven, (...). For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matthew 6:19-21

O Son of Man! If thou lovest Me, turn away from thyself; and if thou seekest My pleasure, regard not thine own; that thou mayest die in Me and I may eternally live in thee. Baha'u'llah, The Hidden Words, 7.

Strive not to desire anything, but rather nothing. St. John of the Cross, The Ascent of Mount Carmel, P.57

You cannot be the slave both of God and of money. Matthew 6:24

In detachment the spirit finds quiet and repose, for coveting nothing, nothing wearies it by elation and nothing oppresses it by dejection, because it stands in the centre of its own humility; (...) St. John of the Cross, The Ascent of Mount Carmel, P.59

Job said, "I was born with nothing, and I will die with nothing. The Lord gave, and now he has taken away. May his name be praised." Job 1:21

Transient, all created things, and you as much as the rest of them; cling to them, and you will get caught up in them, and be lost. Thomas A Kempis, Imitation of Christ, II.1.4

There is nothing to be gained, then, by acquiring and increasing outward possessions; what does do you good is to think nothing of such things, cut them right out of your heart, root and branch. I am speaking not only of amassing riches but also of going about in quest of honors and of the desire to receive vain praise. All these things pass away together with the world. Thomas A Kempis, Imitation of Christ, III.27.3

One who works in devotion, who is a pure soul, and who controls his mind and senses, is dear to everyone and everyone is dear to him. Though always working, such a man is never entangled. Gita 5:7

Who is more at rest than the man who is "clear-sighted"? What greater freedom is there than to desire nothing upon earth? Thomas A Kempis, Imitation of Christ, III.31.1

One whose mind is deluded by the worldly attachments shall always act with a selfish end. When you attempt to enlighten him on the truth, he is offended and annoyed, he reproves and reviles; he is jealous and revengeful. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 510

Knowing well that all worldly objects are perishable, I still attach myself to them and do not abide the Lord in my heart. My mind instead of being attracted to life eternal, it is turned to path of death. Have mercy on me so that I get rid of bondage of mind and get bound to your love and instead of being lured by the worldly pleasures, I begin to embrace the sufferings on the path of devotion. May all my thoughts always be turned towards Thee, my Lord! Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 652..

You shall attain liberation only after breaking the shackles of desires and arrogance of 'me and mine'. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 1068.

There is no object in the whole world that can give you complete satisfaction. Hence give up this effort and depend on the Lord who will bestow upon you eternal satisfaction and bliss. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 1684.

O My Lord! Liberate me from worldly desires so that I may engage myself in selfless services all the twenty four hours. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 1700.

Live in this world but not be a part of it. Once you bind yourself, it shall become difficult to alleviate yourself. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 1767.

You shall have to depart from this world whether you like it or not. So it is better to abdicate all attachment before hand. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 1796.

Shri Babaji said that there were many kinds of detachments, "Vairagyas". For instance, the men who invented the atom bomb were detached - they focused all their attention on one problem, forgetting everything else. The main theme, He said, is to focus your attention completely, to concentrate on your goal, whatever it is, forgetting all other things. This is renunciation. It leads to God-realisation. Teachings of Babaji, P.87.

(...) we must annihilate the feelings of "I - ness" and "my - ness" from our minds. You must march forward like a soldier, dutifully and bravely. The thing which brings man down is "attachment" to his own kith and kin. When all belong to this whole universe, where is the place for "I" and "mine"? (...) Teachings of Babaji, P.99.

Anyone who prefers father or mother to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who prefers son or daughter to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who does not take his cross and follow my footsteps is not worthy of me. Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:37-39

"Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?" And stretching out his hand towards his disciples he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven, he is my brother and sister and mother." Matthew 12:48-50

That person who has detached themselves from everything and who is detached, never glancing even for a moment at what they have given up, who remains steadfast, unmoved in themselves and immutable - such a person alone has truly attained detachment. Meister Eckhart, Selected Writings, P.170. Found in: Mysticism in World Religions

I made these things to serve my rational creatures; I did not intend my creatures to make themselves servants and slaves to the world's pleasures (...). They owe their first love to me. Everything else they should love and possess, as I told you, not as if they owned it but as something lent to them. Catherine of Sienna: The Dialogue, P.97. Found as above.

(...) Jesus said to me, (...) Give away everything at the first sign of a demand, even if they were the most necessary things. Do not ask for anything without consulting Me. (...). Faustina Kowalska, The Diary, 1685.

We do not detach ourselves from things in order to attach ourselves to God, but rather we become detached FROM OURSELVES in order to see and use all things in and for God. This is an entirely new perspective which many sincerely moral  and ascetic minds fail utterly to see.  There is no evil in anything created by God, nor can anything of His become an obstacle to our union with Him.  The obstacle is in our "self," that is to say in the tenacious need to maintain our separate, external, egoistic will.  It is when we refer all things to this outward and false "self" that we alienate ourselves from reality and from God.  It is then the false self that is our god, and we love everything for the sake of this self. We use all things, so to speak, for the worship
of this idol which is our imaginary self.  In so doing we pervert and corrupt things, or rather we turn our relationship to them
into a corrupt and sinful relationship.  We do not thereby make them evil, but we use them to increase our attachment to our illusory self. Merton, Thomas. New Seeds of Contemplation. P. 13. Submitted to L-Center Discussion Group by Gary Horn ghorn@uswest.com

When we consider the fidelity, the resoluteness, the determination to renounce all things for the love of  God, without which we cannot pass over to the higher levels of purity and contemplation, we remain aghast at our own weakness, our own poverty, our evasions, our infidelity, our hesitancy.  Our very weakness clouds our vision.  We are left helpless, knowing very well that we are asked to give up everything, yet not knowing how or where to begin.  In such a condition there is no use in forcing the issue.  Great patience and humility are needed, and humble prayer for light, courage and strength.  If we resolutely face our cowardice and confess it to God, no doubt He will one day take pity on us, and show us the way to freedom in detachment. Merton, Thomas. New Seeds of Contemplation. P.  212-213. Submitted to L-Center Discussion Group by Gary Horn ghorn@uswest.com

When all the ties that bind the heart are unloosened, then a mortal becomes immortal. This is the sacred teaching. Katha Upanishad, quoted after: Novak Philip, The World Wisdom, P.14.

The master sees things as they are, without trying to control them. She lets them go their own way, and resides at the center of the circle. Tao Te Ching 29, quoted after: Novak Philip, The World's Wisdom. P.157.

Man lives in the body as a prisoner; when his term is over he suffers the indignity of being thrown out. Love of the body is therefore nothing more than love of jail. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.17.

Whatever comes in life, just take it joyfully, impersonally, as you would a motion picture. Life is entertaining when we do not take it too seriously. A good laugh is an excellent remedy for human ills. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.127.

The man of self-control, roaming among material objects with subjugated senses, and devoid of attraction and repulsion, attains an unshakable inner calmness. Bhagavad Gita II:64

He should see himself as belonging to the heavenly realm, and all the people residing in this world should seem as of little importance, for this entire world is like a grain of mustard against the heavenly realm; and it should be all the same to him whether people like or dislike him, for their likes and dislikes are of no consequence. Ba'al Shev Tov, quoted after: Miriam Bokser Caravella, The Holy Name. P.235.

A man may be on the throne and perfectly non-attached; another man may be in rags and still very much attached. First we have to attain this state of non-attachment, and then to work incessantly. (...) Vivekananda, quoted in: Nikhilananda, Vivekananda, A Biography, P.192.

This world is a tree to which we cling-
we, the half-ripe fruit upon it.
The immature fruit clings tight to the branch
because, not yet ripe, it's unfit for the palace.
(...)
To be tightly attached to the world is immaturity;
(...)

Rumi, Mathnawi III, 1293-1297, quoted in: Helminski, Kabir (2000). The Rumi Collection. P.136.

Do you think God lets you cling to any branch?
Whereever you make an attachment, it will be broken.
Before God everything is like a ball,
subjected to and prostrating before the bat.

Rumi, Mathnawi VI, 915, quoted in: Helminski, Kabir (2000). The Rumi Collection. P.149.

The first virtue is detachment, that is, death in relation to every person or thing. This produces the desire for God (...). St. Isaiah the Solitary (died in Gaza in 491 C.E.), quoted in: The Philokalia, Vol. I., P.27

Attachment to worldly things is a grave obstacle to those who are striving after holiness, and often brings ruin to both soul and body. (...) possessions arouse feelings of jealousy against their owners, cut off their owners from men better than themselves, divide families, and make friends hate one another. Possessions, moreover, have no place in the life to come, and even in this present life have no great use. Why, then, do we abandon the service of God and devote ourselves entirely to empty trivialities? St. Neilos the Ascetic (died around the year 430 CE), quoted in: The Philokalia, Vol. I., P.207.

Men such as Elijah and Elisha became what they were through their courage, perseverance and indifference to the things of this life. They practiced frugality; by being content with little they reached a state in which they wanted nothing, and so came to resemble bodiless angels. As a result, though outwardly insignificant and unnoticed, they became stronger than the greatest of earthly rulers; (...) St. Neilos the Ascetic (died around the year 430 CE), quoted in: The Philokalia, Vol. I., P.212.

Detachment is the mark of a perfect soul, whereas it is characteristic of an imperfect soul to be worn down with anxiety about material things. The perfect soul is called a 'lily among thorns' (S.of S. 2:2), meaning that it lives with detachment in the midst of those who are troubled by such anxiety. St. Neilos the Ascetic (died around the year 430 CE), quoted in: The Philokalia, Vol. I., P.244.

When you are completely detached from the earthly things and when, your conscience clear, you are at any moment ready in heart to leave this present life and to dwell with the Lord, then you may recognize that you have acquired true virtue. If you want to be known to God, do all that you can to remain unknown to men. St. Theognostos (VIII-th Century of the C.E. ?), quoted in: (1981). The Philokalia. Vol. II., P.359.

I have thoughts, thoughts, and more thoughts. All my impurities rise to the surface my lack of openness, my attachments, my lack of docility. After twenty-five years and I still have not begun to grasp the fundamental attitude of a monk. My will and mind goes rushing ahead with its stupid imaginings and plans (). Should I accept it and go ahead with as much peace and presence as I can? Or should I take a radical stand on it? Cut it all out? () What does the Lord really want? How does one come to the freedom of complete openness and detachment? Is it by struggling with these things head on or is it by just letting it all go and being to God? As I was grappling with this, quietly there came the deep realization that God is my Father and that he would take care of everything. Great peace followed. He has care for every hair on my head and they are fewer and fewer, so he should have more time for these problems! Pennington, Basil. (1978). O Holy Mountain! Journal of a Retreat on Mount Athos. P. 157.

I hear talk about the famous. I hear talk about different cities. The most intimate events of families come to my ears. I hear about temples and mosques and saints. All that can be said I have heard. All that can be wanted I have seen. My interest in this world has waned, though not because I am depressed. A fish in a bowl I was a bottom feeder, but now I nurse upon a breast in the sky. Rabia (c.717-801), quoted in: Ladinsky Daniel (2002). Love Poems from God. Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West. P.24.

My life is a succession of events, just like yours. Only I am detached and see the passing show as a passing show, while you stick to things and move along them. Sri Maharaj Nisargadatta. (2005). I am That. P.4.

 

() I appear to hear and see and talk and act, but to me it just happens, as to you digestion and perspiration happens. The body-mind machine looks after it, but leaves me out of it. Just as you do not need to worry about growing hair, so I need not worry about words and actions. They just happen and leave me unconcerned, for in my world nothing ever goes wrong. Sri Maharaj Nisargadatta. (2005). I am That. P.18.

 

Detach yourself from all that makes your mind restless. Renounce all that disturbs its peace. If you want peace, deserve it. Sri Maharaj Nisargadatta. (2005). I am That. P.22.

 

 


Last updated: 2013/05/20

See the related subjects: Freedom, Materialism, Renunciation

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