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