Sunday Service: The Joy in Nonattachment

Goddaughter smiling

Week of February 15 – 21, 2015

This week we bring you a spiritual talk from our archives. We’ve published or reprinted so many spiritual talks over the years, sometimes it is good to go back and reprint some of the earlier work; this site is too deep to fully explore, so many gems can get lost or overlooked.

It is worth noting that we also have pages devoted to faiths other than Vedanta that highlight spiritual talks we have delivered in the context of those faiths. These pages include Christianity, Buddhism and Islam right now. All of our talks are in the context of Vedantic truth, of course, but these pages help bridge the gap between religions and share truth that otherwise go unnoticed in the Vedanta tradition.

So here you go.

Enjoy, and happy Sunday! Peace be unto you. Peace be unto all.

Yours in service,
Peter

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This Week’s Spiritual Talk

The Joy in NonattachmentNonattachment Baby

Note: Let truth guide you, not us. Our humble disclaimer.

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.

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

My goddaughter is around people she loves almost every waking hour of her day. She is authentic and has not learned that people can hurt her, so she lets herself connect and love everyone who enters her life. As a result, she is surrounded by people she loves, and she is never far from joy. Even when she feels physical pain, it is only a momentary frown that quickly turns into a smile again.

As she gets older, however, my goddaughter is enjoying life less. That’s because instead of enjoying the people around her in the moment, going from one person she loves to another as circumstance dictates, she has begun developing attachments. She’s deciding which people make her most happy, and this preference makes her sad because she’s focusing on the fun person who has left the room and not the fun people who still is in the room.

This is a mistake most of us make. In fact, it is all that separates us from lasting happiness.

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(read more)

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videoVedanta Television

American Vedanta on YouTube

Finding lasting happiness. Applying the Bhagavad Gita to daily life. Learning about the history of Vedanta in the U.S. These are some of the topics covered at American Vedanta’s YouTube channel. We curate a list of spiritual videos that will help advance your spirituality and expand your mind. When wanting spiritual videos, give our YouTube channel a look.

We also recommend other resources such as Booksaudio lectures and web sites, among other resources.

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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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