A river flows because it is not attached to the earth. Jayaram V
Liberation in its essence is true and complete detachment in all aspects of life. In a general sense it means to be able to sleep well despite problems and worries. Jayaram V
In Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism detachment (vairagya) has a great significance. Detachment means not having any physical or mental connection with the things of the world or with your own mind and body or with your achievements, qualities, fame, name, status, etc. Attachment to things interferes with your thinking and makes you blind to certain truths of life. When you are attached, you lose balance, and seek things that may harm you both physically and spiritually or impede your success and progress. Every habit that you form is an intense kind of attachment only. Whatever you like, be it a person, profession, religion, state or condition, is also an attachment. Collectively they bind you to this world and make your life a great struggle as you cannot easily let go of things and move on
Many people who are deeply drawn into worldly life do not even know that they are bound by attachments. They do not consider it a problem because it seems so natural to like or dislike the things of the world. Those who know about it vaguely may think it is something about which they do not have to worry. For many people, the idea of detachment invokes images of sadhus and sanyasis who have renounced the world and lead an ascetic life. It seldom crosses their minds that the practice of detachment can give them wings to fly freely in this trouble ridden world.
It is true that detachment is the foundation for spiritual life. You cannot progress far on the path of liberation without cultivating it. With detachment you can cultivate sameness towards both pleasant and unpleasant aspects of life and avoid unnecessary stress. You cannot fully control what happens to you, but you can control how you can respond to it. It is in using that choice that detachment can play a significant role.
Hindu ascetics take the practice of detachment to extreme so that they become fully detached mentally and physically from their minds and bodies and develop great fortitude, equanimity, will power, concentration, patience, and tolerance. However, with the practice of detachment you can greatly control your responses to external and internal events. If you believe that detachment is good for only spiritual people, you are missing a great opportunity to stay in control of your thoughts and emotions.
Whether it is in personal life or professional field, you can use detachment to manage your expectations and protect yourself from the emotional consequences of setbacks and failures. It will also help you think clearly, without worry and anxiety, and make better decisions. You can also improve your chances of success by focusing upon your performance rather than the outcomes. Most importantly, with detachment you will have an open mind, and you will learn quickly from your failures.
Therefore, if you want to have peace of mind, learn to let go of things. Do not cling to your relationships, not become excessively involved with them. It is always better to keep a little distance and give some space to others in your relationships. Do whatever is necessary for reaching your goals, without worrying what may or may not happen. Focus upon your tasks, what needs to be done, and how it can be done and give your best, leaving the result to God, the Supreme Self. Taking things lightly, not taking life too seriously, and letting go of things, these are a few very important beginner’s steps that can really help you stay in control of your emotions, life, and relationships.
“In practical living Illumination follows both Intuition and Idealism. Our intuition helps us to form a series of steps to climb. Each step in turn is an ideal; each ideal is more advanced, and more satisfying to our highest psychic self. An ideal may start with health, with personal well-being. Then it may advance to a consideration of the welfare of others, the service of society and then gradually broaden with greater understanding. The idealism prepares the consciousness for Illumination.”
Come, great and infinite mind and inspire me to do great deeds. Acquaint me with your knowledge and in your wisdom make me wise. I would be taught of you, inner light, and inspired by your presence. I will listen to your voice and it will tell me of great things to be done. I will walk in your paths and they will lead me into All Good. I will be inspired from on high. Oh wonderful presence, flooding me, filling me with your light, you inspire me! I feel the inspiration of spirit.
There is one ultimate Thinker, yet this Thinker thinks through all of us. This is why our thoughts are creative. The Universal Mind is incarnated in everyone. Every person has access to it; every person uses It, either in ignorance or in conscious knowledge. The mind of each one of us is the Mind of God functioning at the level of our perception of life. Consciously using It, we bring into our experience today something we did not appear to have yesterday – a better ,environment, a happier circumstance, more love, more joy.
In such degree that I know that the God in you is the God that is in me, I cannot seek to do you ill. It would be unthinkable, because all that I would do would be to hurt myself. When all of the nations of the world see God incarnated in one another, then we will no longer have use of weapons. We must stop believing that God is somewhere apart from us, or somewhere apart from the person or situation that is still in bondage of some kind. We must not be disturbed by the contradiction of objective experience. Rather, we need to know that the truth of God’s ever-present activity in our life is superior to the condition that we want to have changed.
I sense the eternal Presence within me. Discarding any thoughts and attitudes that limit my inner awareness of this Presence, I accept the One Life as my life and see all around me the expansion of love, peace, and harmony. I rejoice in the wondrous gifts of an unlimited Universe.
A Commonsense Approach to the Problem of Suffering
by Jayaram V
The Buddha said that the world is full of suffering. All the spiritual and religious traditions that originated from India recognize suffering as the central problem of life upon earth. They all try to resolve human suffering in their own ways, with or without divine help. In them you will find various speculations on whether and how suffering can be resolved, mitigated or endued.
Broadly speaking, their central theme is the same, that the most effective solution to suffering lies within you by knowing how you respond to it and remain undisturbed by it. In other words, if life becomes tough, you have to become even tougher. You may fight with the external forces that trouble you and suppress them like a true warrior. However, it is much better if at the same time you also suppress the factors in you which produce suffering, whereby you will increase your chances of remaining peaceful and undisturbed. The purpose of this discussion is not to go into those philosophies and approaches, but to present a few commonsense observations about suffering and how it can be resolved or mitigated.
What is suffering?
The first step to resolve suffering is to understand what suffering means. For most people suffering means when they have pain or unhappiness. It is the most general and visible forms of suffering. However, suffering is not just pain and sorrow, nor the opposite of happiness and pleasure. If you think it is, your solution to suffering will be limited and ineffective. You have to view suffering in a broader perspective as anything that disturbs you or your peace of mind.
The extreme definition of suffering views suffering as ubiquitous and the most distinguishing characteristic of mortal life. It encompasses all types of suffering and equates living with suffering. Everything that you experience in life is a source of suffering or the consequence of suffering, be it an emotion, desire, feeling, thought, relationship, gain, loss, aging, sickness, birth or death. From this perspective, even happiness is a source of suffering because it does not last forever. When it is gone you will feel dejected and lapse into your negative moods.
For the seers and sages, the very fact that beings are caught in the transmigration of souls and the cycle of births and deaths is why mortal life is synonymous with suffering and should be renounced to achieve eternal happiness through liberation. From this perspective, all the modifications in your mind and body should be considered suffering because they arise from suffering and contribute to suffering. Birth is suffering. Death is suffering. What happens in between is also suffering. The world is filled with suffering because it is impermanent and provides neither comfort nor security nor love nor happiness on a lasting basis. Therefore, trying to find permanent happiness in this world is delusional. If you want to escape from suffering, you must find better methods to escape from it forever.
The condition is similar to those who spend their lives inside prisons. They may go through the motions of life, and outwardly they may appear normal, but beneath their bravado and composure, and their struggle to fit in and adjust to the life within the prison system, they cannot avoid feeling sad, lonely, and miserable. Freedom is the most precious thing in life. Many people do not realize it and keep giving it away. In this world you cannot secure happiness, security or comfort without bartering away your freedom. It is the only asset that you have to secure happiness, but your circumstances do not let you use it according to your will. The world rewards you to the extent you bind yourself to things, and to the extent you put chains around yourself to confirm to its standards and expectations. In the process you may win the approval of others, but you have to give away much of your freedom and feel conflicted.
Whether you view all human experience as suffering or only certain aspects of it, the truth is in this world you cannot avoid feeling unhappy, disturbed, unfulfilled, undermined, disrespected, ill-treated, threatened, betrayed, or miserable. You are in conflict with the world, and your mind and body are also part and products of it only. Therefore, even if you escape into a cave you cannot escape from the world and the suffering it produces in you. When you are disturbed, you cannot pay attention, think properly or make right decisions, which creates further suffering.
It is true that you cannot totally escape from suffering. However, you can reduce its incidence by addressing its causes or by cultivating better responses to the situations that produce it. This is the most commonsense and realistic approach. Suffering is caused by numerous factors which are either external or internal. You cannot control every one of them. Therefore, it is better to resolve some and endure some by cultivating inner strength, sameness and equanimity.
Two ways in which suffering arises
If you examine your suffering carefully, you will realize that it mainly arises in two situations.
When you do not get what you want or like.
When you keep getting what do not want or like.
Both situations make you unhappy and disturbed. They arise from your lack of control and due to your involvement with the external world as you try to search for happiness and fulfillment in it. I, both situations, if you want to stay calm and composed, you have to change your thoughts and control your emotional responses. You should be in control when you succeed as well as when you fail. For example, if you do not get what you want, instead of feeling depressed you should see why it happened and learn from your experience to change your methods or your response. If you keep getting what you do not want, again instead of losing hope or feeling frustrated, you should know why it happened and try to change your response.
In both cases, it is you who should make the difference, not the external factors that seem to rule your life. When you have no control over situations and when you cannot avoid them, you should learn to endure them and learn from the experience, without breaking up from inside. They are the commonsense solutions to control what you can and endure what you cannot. If you are prone to anxiety, anger or fear, you must either control your thoughts or change your response. This is the way of the wise ones. They learn to stay calm and cheerful, despite the external triggers that produce them. Whether in success or failure, in gain or loss, they know that it is the way of life and the solution to their suffering is in them rather than outside them. They know that they can choose to deal with a problem with wisdom rather than suffering from it with ignorance.
There is another situation, which is rather complicated. Some people feel chronically depressed and miserable for no apparent reason. They know that they are unhappy, but cannot explain why. For them suffering become a vague and diffused feeling, like a subterranean fire, that rages within them destroying their peace and happiness. In such cases the problem is physical or psychological, which is difficult to resolve since the causes are hidden or not easily known. They may be even rooted in their past lives or in their subconscious minds. Hence, a lot of it can only be endured as part of one’s karmic burden, by cultivating strength and equanimity. If you know anyone who suffers from chronic unhappiness, treat them with respect, compassion, love and consideration. It is the best you can do, as these unfortunate souls are the living incarnations of extreme suffering as if they are chained to it by an accursed fate.
Today is a day to focus on wisdom. Wisdom is not based on how smart I am, or how smart others think I am. Knowledge comes from the outside. Wisdom comes from within. I can be open to my experiences throughout the day and process them, evaluate them, add them to what I know. Synthesizing all of my experiences adds to my wisdom. Today I will be open to this inner knowledge, and try to recognize it in others as well.
I know I did my best today to focus on wisdom. Tonight I will rest knowing that I am surrounded by wisdom, that I find it when I look within myself, and that I can also recognize it in others.
-From the book “A Daily Book Of Pagan Prayer’ by Megan Day
“As long as we continue to ignore our divine side and the Divine Wisdom and highly specialized faculties and abilities we have, as long as we refuse to use them or exercise them, we will remain in all of our mental and worldly affairs, nothing more than creatures of the animal kingdom. Religions say we should put our faith in God, but as Rosicrucians, we say that we should put our faith in the Divine Consciousness, the Divine Wisdom and the Divine Powers that we all possess and which reside within each of us and remain more or less undeveloped in all human beings.”