by | May 27, 2014 | Uncategorized

In the last post I told a story about the origins of my control-freakish-ness. I said in this post I’d link that story to the ancient wisdom of holding our own mortality in conscious awareness (see the whole series).
The link is this – death consciousness awakens us to the ancient spiritual wisdom of detachment.

mt 6-25As Christians it was Jesus who taught us the spirituality of detachment. “Don’t worry about your life,” he taught us. “Don’t fret about what you will eat, drink, or wear. Life is more than the day-to-day things that usually consume you. Let it go! Seek something higher, something more real.” (read the full text)
Don’t fixate on life’s impermanent things or let them consume the few days you get on earth. Elevate your vision to something more meaningful. We could paraphrase Jesus this way: making a life is more important than making a living.
People who have near-death experiences often report the ability to do this. Their priorities shift after their brush with death. They seem to get a bead on what matters – what’s really important. Nearly dying has a clarifying effect on life’s priorities and values.
Also, people at the end of their lives often report that they wish they had given more attention to the people they love, and less to the company they worked for.
Death-awareness does that.
And so, the ancient wisdom encourages us . . .
Don’t wait for your deathbed or a near brush with death.
Invite that clarity with purpose and intention.
detachment 1Spiritual detachment is the natural result of keeping the end in mind. Being intentionally conscious of our own mortality makes it easier not to attach to impermanent things in the illusory belief that they are permanent.
In the story I told last week, keeping life’s dangerous variables under my control seemed really, really important! It was a survival strategy worth giving my life for — even worth bullying my wife for. I believed it was tantamount to survival. Control kept life’s danger at bay.
But keeping our mortality in mind – and the spiritual instinct of detachment we pick up when we do – brings into focus what really matters. Love matters. Joy and peace matter. Kindness and goodness matter. Freedom and friendship matter.
It turns out that maintaining control of life’s many variables – just doesn’t matter. (As an aside, it also turns out to be impossible, toxic, and destructive.)
When we awaken to our own mortality, we find ourselves able to let go of things that aren’t important in the long run. We find ourselves able to see more clearly, prioritize more effectively, and waste less time on the inconsequential.
The spiritual wisdom of detachment is the ability to let go of what doesn’t matter – and cling dearly to what does. We get there, the ancient wisdom teaches us, by keeping our mortality ever before our consciousness.

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