One teaching says that non-attachment is, “freedom from longing for all objects of desire, either earthly or traditional, either here or hereafter.” Yet it may be early for us to idealize the renunciation of all desire, when we’ve not made much progress in supplanting our numerous bad desires with better ones, and it may be we’ve not yet even learned to enjoy taking out the trash.
And if the water is still and clear, we will notice reflected there the awesome beauty of the sky? And if the sky shines in the eye of a friend, likely we will desire to remain with this friend. And shall we also renounce future desires we do not possess? Naturally not, since desire is continuum and evolution of many refinements, and abstract philosophy will not serve as eraser. We must think realistically about desire. Renunciation is a supplanting process, and more of a direction and orientation than a decision.
“The essence is not in renunciation, but in realization of the especially Beautiful.”
— Aum, Helena Roerich
When I reflect on those I’ve learned the most from, I find that they are very personal people. They tell of themselves, but in subtle artful ways, and their motive shines through. In any case, I know it is not helpful to hide ourselves, to cloak ourselves in a concept of philosophic impersonality. We shouldn’t fear personality, but should be natural. I think there is a sense in which we must be very personal, that is, we should be honestly ourselves. And we should not imagine that this is not good enough for a given situation. If we fail in this, I think we may do so because we are too personal in the wrong way.
What is impersonality? It is not non-personality but illuminated personality. And if personality, in some sense, is to be renounced, it would be good to have an actual one fully in place for the ceremony. And if renunciation is empowerment, then personality will be strengthened, and the reflected light will be intense. Perhaps a paradoxapersonality is in order. It might be the flowering of the same personality, the veiled unearthly lights, that we see everywhere.