One of the most valuable tools which the disciple must learn to use with effect on his evolutionary path is the art of detachment, impersonality and acceptance. The worker must learn to stand apart and hold himself free from that which he is trying to create. He must learn to cultivate the attitude of the onlooker and the silent observer. Mental detachment will enable him to obtain a calm and impersonal view of that which he wishes to accomplish.
This detachment must be seen as a form of self-protection, of self-immunisation, or of aloofness, but as an attempt to arrive at true perspectives and to see the real values involved as viewed from the level of the soul. It is only from this altitude that circumstances and people will be seen as they really are—with their shortcomings and their virtues, their divinity and humanity; it is only through this attitude that man may escape from violent emotional and mental responses which must inevitably result in unbalanced discernment. Detachment may of course also be carried to excess, when it will constitute a vice, and it is therefore for the true server of the Plan to find and walk the middle way.
The gaining of true impersonality and detachment is but another way of saying that the disciple has succeeded in lifting himself above the problems of the personality, and is now enabled to work from the level of the soul. He has learned acceptance and can therefore handle every situation in a spirit of love, refusing to take hasty action that might permit any form of separation to creep into his relationships with his fellow man. This must inevitably lead to true service and the fulfilment of that small section of the Plan for which he is responsible.
Impersonality is achieved by eliminating all personal ambition and love of power. It means relinquishing many cherished ideas, hard won qualities, carefully nurtured ideals, or powerfully formulated beliefs, and accepting conditions as they are.
The cultivation of an attitude of ‘divine indifference’ with regard to personal desires, contacts and goals, will contribute considerably towards the attainment of impersonality. Acceptance will mean emotional control, which is one of the most difficult tasks to which the evolving disciple is subjected, and which usually takes considerable time to achieve; once attained, however, it will prove to be worth all the effort expended.
This divine indifference will only be fully achieved when the disciple becomes consciously aware of his duality and realises that the soul is the real Self and that the material body is merely an instrument through which he is temporarily functioning; when he becomes aware of the fact that from his position of Observer, he can with serene detachment act as the Director of Forces on behalf of humanity—that in fact he is the Soul. The disciple finally comes to the discovery that impersonality is not based on indifference or preoccupation, but upon deep understanding, a dynamic focus on world service, upon a sense of proportion, and upon a detachment which will enable him to render true help to his fellow men.
Understanding leads to serenity or serene detachment. The two concepts, serenity and peace, should not be confused. Peace is a condition of temporary nature and refers to the world of feeling, which is susceptible to disturbance. Wherever there is progress, on whatever terrain, it is inevitable that every forward step will be marked by changed conditions and consequently by disturbances. Evolution must unavoidably lead to points of crisis, to a breaking down of previously existing conditions, and to a substitution or reconstruction of the new. All this must result in disturbed conditions and will not be characterised by peace, but the disciple must learn to experience all such changes with perfect serenity.
To develop a state of serenity, the disciple must first of all obtain control over his astral body, because serenity is that deep calm, devoid of emotional disturbance, by which the disciple whose mind is ‘held steady in the light’ is distinguished. His physical life may be marked by violent activities, disturb the serenity of the disciple who ‘stands firm, poised in soul consciousness’. Serenity is often coupled with joy, which is a clear indication that the soul is in charge of such a life.
Detachment leads to selflessness. The main objective of spiritual training is to produce disciples with an increased capacity to serve, thereby building bridges which provide the Master with readier access to humanity, thus furnishing instruments which can be used for selfless service.
Selflessness is to be dedicated to the service of the fellow man; it denotes that loving understanding of the disciple who identifies himself with others rather than with his own interests.
The disciple must therefore learn to serve with total self-abnegation. He must endeavour to reach the stage of utter self-forgetfulness; to forget the past and all it brought of pain and joy; he should forget the personal self with all its material and emotional claims, and simply seek to live a life of joyous and balanced service. He must learn to serve with no thought of the self, giving strength and love without self-reference in either heart or mind, merely serving as the soul—‘possessing nothing and asking nothing for the separated self’; becoming simply a selfless channel for Love and Light…this is detachment.
Detachment and understanding give courage. One of the essential requirements of the disciple as he advances along the Path is to cultivate the capacity to walk alone, and for this he will need courage. Unavoidably and consistently he will run counter to the opinions of those who surround him—his relations, friends and associates, his religious contacts, and public opinion in general. It will often take courage, but he will have to learn to do the right thing as he may see it, according to his honest convictions, no matter whether it clashes with the opinions of those who are dear to him, or that of accepted world authorities. He must learn to arrive at his own soul as provided by study and meditation.
This is where so many fail—they do not have the courage to follow in detail the dictates of the Inner voice, and they lack the courage to speak out and say those things which the soul urges them to express. The only way for the dedicated disciple is to take himself as he is at any time, under the circumstances that may be ruling, and the equipment at his disposal, and then to subordinate himself, his affairs and his time to the needs of the hour and to serve according to the behests of his soul with complete detachment.
The worker in white magic must hold himself free as much as he can from identifying himself with that which he has created or has attempted to create. The secret for all aspirants is to cultivate the attitude of the onlooker and of the silent watcher, and, may I emphasise the word silent. Much true magical work comes to naught because of the failure of the worker and builder in matter to keep silent. By premature speech and too much talk, he slays that which he has attempted to create; the child of his thought is still-born. All workers in the world should recognise the need for silent detachment. It is a mental detachment which enables the thinker to dwell ever in the high and secret place, and from that centre of peace calmly and powerfully to carry out the work he has set before himself. He works in the world of men; he loves and comforts and serves; he pays no attention to his personality likes and dislikes, or to his prejudices and attachments; he stands as a rock of strength, and as a strong hand in the dark to all whom he contacts. The cultivation of a detached attitude personally, with the attached attitude spiritually, will cut at the very roots of a man’s life; but it will render back a thousand fold for all that it cuts away.
It is only in a spirit of real detachment that the best work of a disciple is done. The disciple comes to realise that because of this detachment he is [for the remainder of his life] simply a worker—one of a great army of hierarchical workers—with supposedly no personality inclinations, objectives, or wishes. There is for him nothing but constant work and constant association with other people. He may be a naturally isolated person, with a deep craving for solitude, but that matters not. It is the penalty he must pay for the opportunity to meet the need of the hour.
The emotional problem may be the hardest. But only the disciple can handle his own self-pity and free himself from the inner emotional storm in which he finds himself living. It leads him to assume the position that not one single thing which produces any reaction of pain or distress in the emotional body, matters in the least. These reactions are simply recognised, lived through, tolerated, and not permitted to produce any limitation.
Preserve ever the attitude of the Onlooker in the head. Thus the detachment of the soul will grow, whilst the attachment of the soul to souls will grow and increase.
“Lord of my life, how can I do the duty of this day yet seek detachment? Meet every need yet free myself from ties and bonds?” God said: “The sun draws near and vivifies the earth. Naught can it take from out the earth. Live Likewise. Give and ask naught!”
On a practical note, I have found that detachment, surrender, acceptance and an “I don’t give a dam about things that does not really matter in life”, attitude, goes together. Eckhart Tolle has the following to say about acceptance and surrendering in ‘The Power of Now’:
Surrender is the simple but profound wisdom of yielding to rather than opposing the flow of life. The only place where you can experience the flow of life is the Now, [Now = ignoring the personality, or no personality.] so to surrender is to accept the present moment unconditionally and without reservation. It is to relinquish inner resistance to what is. Inner resistance is to say “no” to what is, through mental judgment and emotional negativity. It becomes particularly pronounced when things “go wrong” which means that there is a gap between the demands or rigid expectations of your mind, and what is. That is the pain gap. If you have lived long enough, you will know that things “go wrong” quite often. It is precisely at those times that surrender needs to be practiced if you want to eliminate pain and sorrow from your life. Acceptance of what is immediately frees you from mind identification and thus reconnects you with Being. Resistance is the mind. [The personality mind.]
Non-surrender hardens your psychological form, the shell of the ego, and so creates a strong sense of separateness. The world around you and people in particular come to be perceived as threatening. The unconscious compulsion to destroy others through judgment arises, as does the need to compete and dominate. Even nature becomes your enemy and your perceptions and interpretations are governed by fear. The mental disease that we call paranoia is only a slightly more acute form of this normal but dysfunctional state of consciousness.
Not only your psychological form but also your physical form—your body—become hard and rigid through resistance. Tension arises in different parts of the body, and the body as a whole contracts. The free flow of life energy through the body, which is essential for its healthy functioning, is greatly restricted.
There is something within you that remains unaffected by the transient circumstances that make up your life situation, and only through surrender do you have access to it. It is your life, your very Being—[soul] which exists eternally in the timeless realm of the present. Finding this life is “the one thing that is needed” that Jesus talked about.
If you find your life situation unsatisfactory or even intolerable, it is only by surrendering first that you can break the unconscious resistance pattern that perpetuates that situation. This makes it easier to detach from the situation.
Surrender is perfectly compatible with taking action, initiating change or achieving goals. But in the surrendered state a totally different energy, a different quality, flows into your doing. Surrender reconnects you with the source-energy of Being [soul energy], and if your doing is infused with being, it becomes a joyful celebration of life energy that takes you more deeply into the Now. [Beyond the personality] Through non-resistance, the quality of your consciousness and, therefore, the quality of whatever you are doing or creating is enhanced immeasurably. We could call this “surrendered action”.
Until you practice surrender, [and acceptance], the spiritual dimension is something you read about, talk about, believe in—or don’t, as the case may be. Not until you surrender does it become a living reality in your life. When you do, the energy that you emanate and which then runs your life is of a much higher vibrational frequency than the mind [personality mind] energy that still runs our world. Through surrender, spiritual energy comes into the world. It creates no suffering for yourself, for other humans, or any other life form on the planet. Through it you become an alchemist, transmuting base metal into gold, suffering into consciousness, disaster into enlightenment.
Taken from the works of AAB and DK.
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