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The Mystic's Life Lesson #26
Two Priceless Skills
How does a seeker of higher consciousness overcome agonies and maintain ecstasies?
Detachment and Practice are two of the finest techniques.
Based on your patient, day-at-a-time development in the early lessons of this website, you can likely do both of these techniques with excellent results.
1 — Detachment
Detachment here refers to a state of mind in which you witness, clearly and calmly, with good will, whatever you are seeing, hearing, thinking, enjoying, or suffering. Watch your problems, fears, and challenges as if you are not bound or preoccupied by them but viewing them calmly — a witness. With practice, your turbulent thoughts and negative emotions will lose their grip on your mind. They will not be able to drive you or distort your inner potential and well being.
In the Detachment Technique you first view the outer world with no sense of ownership. The concept of "mine" usually colors whatever you behold with an emotional intensity which keeps you from being detached. Often, simply sitting in a park, calmly witnessing the children, trees, and birds enables a pleasant clarity and freedom of mind which establishes detachment. Or, look around your living room and kitchen as if you are a first-time guest. See the furniture and appliances clearly — as they are — withholding mental comments or emotional reactions. Simply be a witness.
When you can witness external objects in a truly detached manner, free of mental/emotional turbulence, you will find you can close your eyes and look at a worry or painful memory calmly and clearly, too. In fact, the inner detachment is the true test — and goal. When you can witness people, events, and things in the outer world with great calm and clarity, you will find you can easily witness the play of your mind and emotions well, too —likely for the first time in your life.
Next Level of Detachment
The next level of the Detachment Technique, then, is to become a witness, a "first-time" compassionate and clear viewer of your mind.
Additionally, when you can easily witness any and all of your thoughts and mental images, turn your focus to your emotions. Become a detached witness of the rivers of your feelings.
The technique of detachment is fairly easy for most everyone with good mental health. All it requires is five or ten minutes practice each day and a patient willingness to get back into a "witness mode" each time the mind or emotions succeed in making your thoughts wander. Most people find the practice difficult the first two or three times they try. Detachment is, after all, a different way of viewing the world and yourself.
As your detachment develops you become even more subtly aware of your mental/emotional faculties. You gain greater understanding of your personality and true nature. Your memory improves. Your emotions become more integrated and constructive. Your perceptions of your life and relationships become more accurate and, likely, more satisfying. Your mind works better.
Detachment helps you become so free of mental/emotional turbulence you can contact your higher consciousness at will.
You can overcome most of the agonies listed in the preceding lesson through developing detachment well. Sincerely watch the play of your thoughts. Watch your frustrations from the calm center within your being. If you behold several problems or agonies, watch them all calmly. Don’t let any thoughts or feelings destroy your quiet, clear view.
As you look at your conflicts, pressures, and challenges, your detachment will often enable you to perceive fresh solutions. When you can detach your mind from its chaos, you can attune with your higher wisdom. You’ll be inspired with new possibilities!
An extremely important attribute of detachment is the freedom it gives you to choose your best actions and responses to life’s situations. No longer will you merely react to the world because now your clarity of vision gives you greater understanding coupled with new abilities to decide more beneficial courses of action. You can abandon habits which previously caused you loss or suffering.
Some people are afraid of detachment. They think it will make them remote, whereas detachment involves getting out of the stampede of negative emotions and thoughts in order that the self-destruction stop. In entering the detached, "good will witness" perspective you can most directly see what your problem is and most immediately solve it. A detached state can give you insight which immensely accelerates your overall progress toward fulfillment. Furthermore, in the ability to be detached at will, you become able to get free of your longstanding biases and misconceptions, as well as the inner turbulence of thoughts and feelings.
Detachment and Ecstasy
When you are in ecstasy, periods of detachment are invaluable. So intense is the ecstasy that sometimes you need to be able to calmly withdraw from it. Detachment also helps when extraneous thoughts and feelings — or worries — fill your awareness, diminishing your ecstasy; through detachment you can choose to reestablish the ecstasy. Too, unpleasant memories and old attitudes can come to mind at times, dominating your attention and making you ignore the ecstasy. Detachment helps you reclaim the ecstasy before you lose it. Or, you may mentally probe or try to manipulate your ecstasy so forcefully it becomes eclipsed by mental activity — and, again, you can lose the ecstasy unless you know how to detach. Through regular moments of detachment you can let your ecstasy remain with you — and grow. The clarity of detachment keeps self-destructive thoughts or feelings from blocking or diminishing your ecstasy. In moments of detachment your ecstasy expands and becomes more established. Your thoughts and feelings become anchored in higher consciousness rather than your subconscious spewings. Detachment enables you to open yourself to ecstasy, to receive and maintain it. Worth considering!
With a degree of detachment you can know your world and your friends more deeply and appreciatively. In every way, true detachment refreshes your faculties for a finer life.
2 — Practice
When you have calmly perceived a problem from your witness vantage point and have determined a better way to deal with the problem, then practice putting this new action into effect. Old tendencies will try to dominate.
It takes regular practice to create a new, more ideal situation, free of old agonies. Patient effort and perhaps a number of failures are usually necessary until, finally, the ideal situation which you glimpsed in your detached state becomes firmly established and a new way of success is achieved.
This form of practice, as a result of detachment, is extremely important, but it’s also very enjoyable. Whenever you are practicing dealing with any of the agonies you are cutting through old pains, old tendencies and habit patterns, to establish new life.
Generally, those who fail to practice new attitudes and actions fail to achieve higher consciousness. They allow the agonies and their turbulence in general to dominate them. They give up. They refuse to have periods of detachment or practice their ideals. They quit.
1. They simply change their minds. Something else has become more important to them.
2. They allow themselves to be pacified by a slight improvement in the outer world. As a consequence, they no longer feel they need higher awareness or greater well being. A bribe from the outer world, however slight, often suffices.
3. They allow other desires to become more important and to dominate. Thus they change their purpose and lose their desire for higher consciousness.
If you take the help of Detachment and Practice, not forgetting how important faith and companionship are, you will find moments of ecstasy as you work your way forward. These flashes of ecstasy or light are encouragements, guiding signs that help you stay on track. They are indications from the higher consciousness of "Well done, my good friend."
These encouragements are not psychic but rather are genuine spiritual experiences:
The main thing a seeker must do is hang in there! Neither ecstasy nor agony are as important as persisting. As one great saint, Lahiri Mahasay, said, "Doing, doing, done." Keep practicing, keep moving toward your goal, and suddenly you find your goal is accomplished.