True and False Attachments
The philosophical term attachment denotes the state of being firmly and for a long time attached by the indriyas to some objects. These can be parents, children, spouses, objects of sexual attraction, money, luxury items, high social status, favorite work, friends, one’s own body, gaming, various kinds of food, alcoholic beverages, tobacco or other toxins…
In other words, we can see that attachments can be apparently harmful, not apparently harmful, or even quite useful at certain stages of the person’s development. It is the latter that at times “get us moving” in various situations, and “moving” with quite an emotional uplift. It is much worse to be inactive and live a lazy life.
Let us look at the following analogy: one can steer an automobile or a ship only provided that they are moving; but if they do not have their own motion — it is extremely hard or impossible to direct or turn them anywhere.
The same true is with every one of us: if we live an active life, even though without correct understanding of its meaning and of our Supreme Goal, — then our moving allows God to create many learning situations for us. Only in this case can we develop and prepare ourselves for further spiritual ascents.
… In religious books one may sometimes encounter a character of a seemingly positive hero, who suddenly gives up taking care of his family and leaves to become a hermit in hope of spiritual achievements. It is presented as an exemplary “cutting of attachments”.
But there is no truth in this. This way of “detaching” oneself is not only unjustified from the ethical standpoint but also does not make any sense. Attachments should be replaced, as opposed to being dropped through an “act of volition”. We should try to fall in love with God. This is difficult to accomplish overnight. But we need to set this as our goal and ask God to help us. And then love for God will grow, as we study Him with an inquiring mind through reading books, engaging in spiritual conversations, and personally asking Him to show, to reveal Himself, to let us feel His Love in full, to instruct us through a Revelation… This is what correct initial distribution of our indriyas would be.
Later on, when we start to feel real reciprocity of our love, the relationships with God progress even faster, love gradually turns into passion, into a new attachment… And this new — true — attachment and passion gradually displace all the others.
… This is how I have lived my life. Raised in a atheistic environment, I heard for the first time about the reality of God’s existence only at the age of 27. But at that time nobody could explain to me what hides behind this. The Orthodox Church provided first mystical experiences, but it failed to answer the question about what God really is: God-the-Father was lost there, although He was the central figure in the Teachings of Jesus Christ. Reading books allowed me to widen my spiritual horizon, but at that time there was no book in which everything would be presented in such a detailed and simple way as in the one you are reading now.
I have never had an incarnate Guru — a spiritual Teacher, who would know all the way to God. There was none of them around me at that time apparently. And this is good in a certain sense, since having an incarnate Guru, on the one hand, allows one to receive explanations and learn practical methods for working on self-development. But, on the other hand, relationships with Him creates attachment to His incarnate form, instead of Divine Consciousness; in this case the goal is not the Highest but an intermediate one, and not all disciples in this situation are capable of switching to the Highest Goal — the Consciousness of God-the-Father.
At that time God set before me, a scientist possessing significant research experience, the Highest Goal — Himself in all His Universal Totality.
And I fell in love with Him.
And then everything was quite simple: I started, as they say, to “push my way through”. I started going to Him. Other people started following me — many of them were joining and leaving. But they could not keep up with my speed and with my intensity. Some stepped aside quietly, some protested and demanded a “special” kind of love for them, and hated me when they were not getting it. Some people betrayed me, doing mean things to me; others defamed me, sometimes in public. Some people robbed me. There were even those trying to kill my body.
But I went on without looking back, without falling in love with people, without getting involved in quarrels, or avenging myself for the mean and cruel murder, although I found out the names of my murderers. I did not allow myself to stop because of the “attachments” to my honor, reputation, or my body, in the end.
I have never had disciples to whom I would sell the highest knowledge. What I did have were friends, whom I loved very much. And I was giving to them my spiritual experience and myself. I lived for them and for God. I could not… sell my love for money! Their progress was my reward.
I loved them very much. But when they left — I was not “attached” to them and forgot about them right away.
I have never made — quite sincerely! — a slightest attempt to make any of those who left me, come back. On the contrary, I encouraged them to leave — so that not to overburden them with a load of knowledge unbearable to them.
Some were leaving, being unable to understand me anymore — God was bringing to me others, who were more prepared… I loved them even more, for they understood me better… But I still did not get “attached” to them: I was totally focused on my main love — the love for God!
And whatever amounts of mud envious people, betrayers, and slanderers were throwing at me — I came out victorious of all the arguments: God accepted me in Himself; I learned to merge with Him in the Embrace of Love. I have won! It was not someone else that I conquered. No! I conquered myself, without causing any suffering to anyone, having become another kind of person: the kind that God needed.
I have won, and now I am calling you to the same Victory!
And I am grateful to God and to all of those, who were going together with me, for my Victory, those who loved and hated me: through you God enriched me and directed my life. Peace to all of you!