Devos – Detachment


For the past two years my brother, Ariya, hosted Devos at our home. Devos is short for devotionals. To explain devotionals, the members of the Baha’i Faith and the friends are encouraged to hold devotionals within their community to promote the sense of unity, faith and understanding. Devotionals constitute the sharing of prayers and spiritual Writings for the progress of our soul and spirit. My brother, however, believed that devotionals can be expanded in terms of process, yet hold a central purpose, which is the promotion of moral and spiritual values for the betterment of mankind; spiritual and moral values such as cooperation, faithfulness, trustworthiness and understanding.

Therefore, Ariya formed “Devos,” a monthly program where he selects a central theme, generates quotes from different authors and Holy Books and print them in form of strips, and we all as a family engage in promoting and inviting our friends to join us in our Devos. Before we start, we request our guests to help themselves and picking a quote from the bowl that holds all the quotes.

Devos is more of a forum, a place where we share our personal experiences, philosophies and beliefs, and knowledge on the central theme that is being discussed; devoid of any agenda other than empowering each other with our wisdom to lead a more fruitful and uplifting life.

Last night, the theme was “Detachment”. The discussions were so fruitful that I decided to share every month’s theme and what I’ve learnt from the discussions and quotes.

There were over 30 people at our house, not to mention, an abundance of beautiful and empowering quotes. What I’ll share below is a glimpse of some of the quotes we shared; unfortunately, we have a bad habit of disposing these quotes at the end of each Devos. But from now on, I’ll do my best to collect them and share them.


What is detachment? Does it mean to let go? But can we be purely detached?

According to a Native American Saying:

“We may think that to detach ourselves means to hate, to ignore, to divide, to separate, to stand aloof, or to be cold and rough toward a given object. These are not signs of true detachment. True detachment is a Soul attitude, a function carried out on the Soul plane rather than on the physical, emotional, or lower mental planes. Actually you are not detaching your True Self from anyone or anything. You are detaching your Self from the inertia of the body, from the glamors of your emotional world, and from the illusions of your mental realm. You are also detaching your Real Self from the objects with which you were identified only through inertia, glamors, and illusions.”

Detachment is spiritual in nature. It is where you gain freedom when the threads of your spirit, or soul, is connected to a matter of higher purpose, belief or principle beyond the nature of the trivial things that surround us. Like a bird, detachment is the flight of the bird in the sky. If the bird were to be attached to the matters of the world, then its wings would be filled with mud and dirt, and such wing will not allow the bird to fly with ease in the sky.

Detachment is not limited to bad habits or evil elements; detachment to good things are necessary, too. Detachment brings forth moderation in our lives, as it balances the good and the evil. For example, being attached to family, friends and our loved ones are culturally meriting and rewarding to both ourselves and our fellow beings. However, when this attachment turns into a passionate pursuit, then it will turn into vice. The individual will lose sight and focus of their own growth as they try frantically to seek in satisfying the interests of the other. Detachment has a purpose. For example, in a relationship where the lovers should be in accord and in love with each other, they must provide the space for their personal growth and the growth of their relationship. Detachment is love:

“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.” – Khalil Gibran

However, detachment is not abolition of all ties. As mentioned before, detachment carries a purpose, a purpose that is lofty and great in essence. Whether it is to pursue the will of the heavens, gaining knowledge, identifying the inner-self, or placing Faith in God. Detachment provides us with focus, the sense of hope when all else around us fails and falls apart. Detachment is among the elements that makes us successful in all that we wish to accomplish.

“This law says that in order to acquire anything in the physical universe, you have to relinquish your attachment to it. This doesn’t mean you give up the intention to create your desire. You give up your attachment to the result. This is a very powerful thing to do. The moment you relinquish your attachment to the result, combining one-pointed intention with detachment at the same time, you will have that which you desire.” – Deepak Chopra

“I will be a saint” means I will despoil myself of all that is not God; I will strip my heart of all created things; I will live in poverty and detachment; I will renounce my will, my inclinations, my whims and fancies, and make myself a willing slave to the will of God.” – Mother Teresa

“The essence of detachment is for man to turn his face towards the courts of the Lord, to enter His Presence, behold His Countenance, and stand as witness before Him.” – Baha’u’llah

Detachment is freedom. It frees us from bias and misconception, and allows us to walk past the prison of self and into the realm of wisdom, justice and understanding.

“He must be a lover of the rose, no matter in what soil it may be growing. He must be a seeker of the truth, no matter from what source it come.” – Abdu’l-Baha

How the Economic Crisis is Improving our Community?

The economic crisis that was, and it still is, affecting us in a global scale has been only viewed by the general media as a negative factor to the world of business and industry. In addition, the increase in the unemployment rate is introducing the factor of crime and poverty into every nation; where every individual is competiting and fighting to get a piece of the pie.

However, in the midst of this catastrophe, there is a bright light for the future of civilization. As budgets become tighter, education becomes less affordable, and jobs are hard to capture; the competition is being centered on individuals to compete with themselves to attain the best of the best, or grasp the taste of excellence.

After much thought and reflection, I summarized my views on how the crisis is benefiting us (from a student perspective) at present:

The field of education is facing a huge budget dilemma. Public universities and community colleges are facing budget cuts, leading to shortages in the number of classes, reduction of faculty members and reducing the number of admitted students. However, on the other hand, many individuals who have been laid off are planning to join a University to continue their education and be supported by the government. I overheard a student in the bus stating “it is better to be in school now! Else you will have to be looking for a job for the next 2 years.” The unemployed at present are given the opportunity to improve their educational background using the experiences they have gained in the working field. With the acquisition of more up-to-date education and information, the individual is supplied with the skills and knowledge that will provide them with a more secured job position and valuable knowledge for the long run.

As for the general public, the budget cut is forcing students to study harder to enter the university of their choice. This is a chance where schools will enforce stricter and a higher educational standards due to the demand of the job market and universities are imposing on the society. The long term effect will lead to the improvement of the economy and a stronger, smarter and creative labor force. Of course, one may state that this will place the burden on the students who are struggling in this economy. And unfortunately, that is correct. However, institution of higher education and government must work on minimizing the financial burden for the student and identify on how to make their degrees and students more proactive and useful in the community. Regardless of the degree, the institution of higher education and government should present the available options for people to have the chance to excel in their field; whether in a firm, as researchers expanding their field of work, or if they start their own business.

Of course, there is much more to investigate, and in the end, it lies on the individual to strive for the best and attain success.

Bus Ride

The cold breeze caresses my face
I sneeze out quietly, hiding my mask.
Its yellow light signals to me,
To ride with it home is its task.

Its doors open, like gates of Troy,
And I show my permission. I enter
The bus, warm, soothing and cozy
Shielding me from the freezing winter.

The winds that turn the leaves to gold,
Strike the bus with its golden touch.
The night of darkness now unfolds,
Plunging the bus to its hutch.

Protected, I shut my eyes,
Hoping to arrive home soon. I fell asleep…


In the cradle, our tears fall for water
Until we hear the soothing voices of our mother
Sings her lullaby to her child with grace
You hold her with majestical embrace

Her heart beat, enriched with love and warmth
Her soul, praised by the Mighty and exalted
She is the knight we call for assistance
Or the angel in our dreams

Our eyes shut, our thoughts transform to fantasy
Gently, she takes us to our cradles
Prays to Lord for His care and protection
To gaurd the infant from malevolence

With tears, she ends her prayers
The room turns dark…

O ye roses in the garden of God’s love!

O ye roses in the garden of God’s love! O ye bright lamps in the assemblage of His knowledge! May the soft breathings of God pass over you, may the Glory of God illumine the horizon of your hearts. Ye are the waves of the deep sea of knowledge, ye are the massed armies on the plains of certitude, ye are the stars in the skies of God’s compassion, ye are the stones that put the people of perdition to flight, ye are clouds of divine pity over the gardens of life, ye are the abundant grace of God’s oneness that is shed upon the essences of all created things.

On the outspread tablet of this world, ye are the verses of His singleness; and atop lofty palace towers, ye are the banners of the Lord. In His bowers are ye the blossoms and sweet-smelling herbs, in the rose garden of the spirit the nightingales that utter plaintive cries. Ye are the birds that soar upward into the firmament of knowledge, the royal falcons on the wrist of God.

Why then are ye quenched, why silent, why leaden and dull? Ye must shine forth like the lightning, and raise up a clamouring like unto the great sea. Like a candle must ye shed your light, and even as the soft breezes of God must ye blow across the world. Even as sweet breaths from heavenly bowers, as musk-laden winds from the gardens of the Lord, must ye perfume the air for the people of knowledge, and even as the splendours shed by the true Sun, must ye illumine the hearts of humankind. For ye are the life-laden winds, ye are the jessamine-scents from the gardens of the saved. Bring then life to the dead, and awaken those who slumber. In the darkness of the world be ye radiant flames; in the sands of perdition, be ye well-springs of the water of life, be ye guidance from the Lord God. Now is the time to serve, now is the time to be on fire. Know ye the value of this chance, this favourable juncture that is limitless grace, ere it slip from your hands.

Soon will our handful of days, our vanishing life, be gone, and we shall pass, empty-handed, into the hollow that is dug for those who speak no more; wherefore must we bind our hearts to the manifest Beauty, and cling to the lifeline that faileth never. We must gird ourselves for service, kindle love’s flame, and burn away in its heat. We must loose our tongues till we set the wide world’s heart afire, and with bright rays of guidance blot out the armies of the night, and then, for His sake, on the field of sacrifice, fling down our lives.

Thus let us scatter over every people the treasured gems of the recognition of God, and with the decisive blade of the tongue, and the sure arrows of knowledge, let us defeat the hosts of self and passion, and hasten onward to the site of martyrdom, to the place where we die for the Lord. And then, with flying flags, and to the beat of drums, let us pass into the realm of the All-Glorious, and join the Company on high.

Well is it with the doers of great deeds.

(Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 265)

So, what makes you happy?

Every game night, we play a game where the host asks a question and the guests write the answers down in a sheet of paper. All those papers are dumped into a hat, and then the host reads the answers aloud without passing them out to anyone else. The whole goal is to have the guest figure out who answered what.

Some of the awesome questions mentioned were:

What is the thing you wish you could do that has no negative consequence?

What is one of the craziest dreams you wish to accomplish?

If you were given a billion dollars today to spend only, what would you do? (someone said buy an iPod and break it…just one).

Anyhow, what boggles my mind a lot when I interact when people is the simple question of What Makes You Happy?

Easy question to ask, super hard to answer. Been really thinking about how to best answer that question through implementing the answer rather than answering it. So far, I’ve accomplished in completing/achieving some of them:

  • Compose/Produce music.
  • Organize events.
  • Being as helpful as possible (In Progress, possibly always In Progress)

Given what has happened so far, the stuff above are short term goals that well brighten my day for a bit and then I will embark in the journey in pursuit of happiness.

Some of the ideas I had in mind for a while:

  • Start a business (somewhere, somehow, someplace).
  • Travel for service (Gap year, serve somewhere, Engineers without Borders or something in that line…) – Personally, I am still not sure about this as my anxiety > happiness.
  • Family (which involves feeling of security, prosperity, stability, unity….etc)

Too short honestly, but that’s what I feel deep in my heart at present as to what I wish to accomplish sometime soon in the near future. Yay for uncertainty!