Friday, February 20, 2009

Subtraction...

Soul knowledge sends you in the opposite direction from consumerism. It's not addition that makes one holy but subtraction: stripping the illusions, letting go of the pretence, exposing the false self, breaking open the heart and the understanding, not taking my private self too seriously.

In a certain sense we are on the utterly wrong track. We are climbing while Jesus is descending, and I think in that we reflect the pride and the arrogance of Western civilization, always trying to accomplish, perform and achieve. We transferred all that to Christianity and became spiritual consumers. The ego is still in charge. When the self takes itself that seriously, there's no room left for God.

All we can really do is get ourselves out of the way, and we can't even do that.

Richard Rohr, from Radical Grace: Daily Meditations, p. 46

To be able to enjoy fully the many good things the world has to offer, we must be detached from them. To be detached does not mean to be indifferent or uninterested. It means to be nonpossessive. Life is a gift to be grateful for and not a property to cling to.

A nonpossessive life is a free life. But such freedom is only possible when we have a deep sense of belonging. To whom then do we belong? We belong to God, and the God to whom we belong has sent us into the world to proclaim in his Name that all of creation is created in and by love and calls us to gratitude and joy. That is what the "detached" life is all about. It is a life in which we are free to offer praise and thanksgiving.

Henri Nouwen, from Bread for the Journey

The Buddhists speak of non-attachment, of not clinging to what we imagine to be our possessions, including our own bodies, our life on this earth. It's only when we are free from attachment that we are free to live: "For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it." (Matthew 16.25) And yet it's only by grace that we can let go.

Oh, Jesus, give me the grace to know this for myself. "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Psalm 119.105) and yet I am weak and disobedient, longing to know your truth, longing to be set free...

3 comments:

  1. May I use this post on my blog? It really spoke to what God is doing in my life right now.

    Thanks and peace to you,
    Elysa Mac

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  2. Thanks, both!

    Elysa, yes, of course you may cross-post... I'd be honoured!

    Peace & all blessings

    Mike

    ReplyDelete