This from Gerald May’s book Addiction and Grace:
Detachment is the word used in spiritual traditions to describe freedom of desire. Not freedom from desire, but freedom of desire . . . An authentic spiritual understanding of detachment devalues neither desire nor the objects of desire. Instead, it “aims at correcting one’s own anxious grasping in order to free oneself for committed relationship to God.” According to Meister Eckhart, detachment “enkindles the heart, awakens the spirit, stimulates our longings, and shows us where God is.”
There is more I could say, but I couldn’t do it as eloquently. So I’ll just end with a question. So much of the time, my default is more: more hard work, more devotion, more faithfulness, more close adherence. My friend Ty (that is the famous Mr. Ty Ray Mansfield to the rest of you) makes this point in his part of the book In Quiet Desperation when he talks about Lehi’s vision in 1 Nephi 8, there are different sets of people who are using the iron rod to try to get to the Tree of Life:
- The first collection group is described in verse 21 as “pressing forward”, but they aren’t described as holding to the rod at all. They don’t get very far before they wander off.
- The second group is described in verse 24 as “clinging” to the rod. And they make it to the tree, and partake of the fruit. However, this group is shamed by the Beau Monde in the Great and Spacious Building into falling away into “forbidden paths”.
It is the last group who are described in verse 30 as “catching hold” and then “holding fast” to the rod of iron. To me, it doesn’t sound quite as desperate as the second group, or as half-hearted as the first group.
Is there a way I can “hold fast” while not (as Eckhart puts it) “anxiously grasping”?