Sunday Service: The Joy in Nonattachment

Goddaughter smiling

Week of April 13 – 19, 2014

In November, American Vedanta’s sister not-for-profit, the Philia Mission, helped feed Filipinos affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Now we’re working on the second half of the organization’s mission: Administering resources for people who want to go monastic but are not quite ready or able to join a monastery.

Philia’s role in helping this group of people will come in the form of administering resources so these people have food on their table but are not tempted to give themselves more food and resources than is strictly necessary. There’s a fine line between giving yourself the necessities of life and indulging in extra resources and possessions, and the administration of resources by the Philia Mission will help these people stay on the correct side of that line.

For more information on this interesting project, please visit the Philia Mission web site.

American Vedanta also is now holding regular spiritual services in Cleveland. Every week we hold a service, so if you live near Cleveland please join us! We have another event tonight in the suburb of Willoughby, Ohio.

If you don’t live in Cleveland, New York or Bangkok, however, we still have you covered; we put out this Sunday service weekly, so you can stay connected to Vedanta even if you are literally the only person in your community following the path.

This week we bring you a new spiritual talk I wrote earlier this week. I was playing with my goddaughter right after getting off the phone with a friend in New York who was missing me (I’m in Cleveland at the moment). The need for this spiritual talk was so irrepressible that I had to drop everything I was doing and write it.


Peter Kowalke


Nonattachment BabyThis Week’s Spiritual Talk

The Joy in Nonattachment

Part of why we love children so easily is because they are authentic. They are raw and unscripted. They just live. They just feel.

Sometimes this feeling is loss.

My 14-month-old goddaughter generally is a good-natured child. She smiles a lot. She doesn’t cry after a fall. She loves the company of others, and she finds joy in the simple things. Life generally is good.

But lately she has started crying more. As she gets older, she has started learning cause and effect. This has led to preferences, which in turn has led to sadness when her preferences are not met.

One preference she has learned is that she enjoys my company. When she sees me, she smiles and is happy. But when I go away for work, she gets upset. She wants more, so she cries when I leave.

This reaction is an unadulterated version of the unhappiness most of us feel on a daily basis. When we like something, we want more. We develop preferences for people, things and situations that make us happy, and we feel sad when we don’t get what we want. This is why we miss people we love.

The love is not the problem. There is nothing wrong with my goddaughter enjoying my company. We have fun, and that’s better than feeling grumpy or indifferent when we are together. Why not enjoy the moment together? Sharing a moment together is a blessing.

The problem comes when we are attached, which is another way of saying that our sadness comes from preferences unmet.

(read more)


GitaBook of the Month

Bhagavad Gita According to Gandhi

by Mohandas K. Gandhi

The Bhagavad Gita is unique among religious texts in its emphasis on the discharge of everyday duties, irrespective of their nature, as an effective discipline for the realization of God. The Gita teaches that if a man performs his duties, surrendering the fruit to God and discarding all selfish motives, he gains purity of heart and achieves ultimate liberation. It is knowledge of God that gives man the strength to face calmly and cheerfully the duties of life. The Gita shows the way to spiritualize life and illumine even its drab and gray phases with the radiance of the Spirit. It lays down practical spiritual disciplines which can be followed by all, irrespective of faith and creed.

It is common for spiritual giants to offer their own commentary on how best to interpret the Bhagavad Gita, and the famous social activist and Indian saint, Mahatma Gandhi, lends his interpretation in this edition.

(Learn more about the book)

Other books we recommend can be found in our Books section. We also recommend YouTube videos, audio lectures and web sites, among other resources.


Spiritual Fitness

Do You have a Spiritual Routine?

Vedanta, if not practical, has no other relevancy. The key to practical Vedanta is an individualized spiritual routine.

There are six components of a good spiritual routine.

Swan1. Find a Community. If you have an existing church, temple or mosque, attend regularly. If not, join our Facebook group and see our list of recommended spiritual organizations.

2. Seek Guidance. Find a mentor within your existing spiritual community or contact us for a referral.

3. Attend Spiritual Services Regularly. If you don’t live near an appropriate spiritual community, we offer a weekly spiritual talk delivered by email, Facebook and Twitter. We also host a regular Vedanta Dinner for those who live in the New York City area.

4. Incorporate Individual Study. We keep a list of books and resources for your individual study needs.

5. Take Responsibility for Your Spiritual Life. Read our talk about listening to your own inner compass and contact us when you have a question that your spiritual community isn’t answering adequately.

6. Leverage Rituals Thoughtfully. As an example, read our essay about the power of saying grace.

Our longer talk about spiritual routine can be found here.

Happy Sunday! Peace be unto you. Peace be unto all.

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Saturday Vigil: 4:30 pm

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