Letters to Jesus (Attachments and Detachments) - 6
It’s time to take stock of my possessions. In the exhortation of Anthony DeMello’s Sadhanna to “drop attachments,” my first thoughts turn to the material goods I own: house, car, boat, etc. Becoming detached from these is needed and it is often difficult. These things take up one’s thoughts and attention and, therefore, take away from You. But Thomas Merton has taken me by the hand once again and shown me that there are other “possessions” the attachment to which is far more insidious than attachment to material goods.
There are attitudes, postures, and clever strategies that we possess without any desire from which to detach ourselves. There are characteristics, manipulations and eccentricities about ourselves to which we are strongly attached and from which we would hate to be separated. In one sense, the peculiarities of one’s own spiritual regime may be considered an attachment because of the pride we attribute to ourselves in it.
My life is full of such possessions that fight more violently against a poverty of spirit than any amount of material goods. The feeling that I’m doing something meritorious when I help others is contrary to a spirit of poverty. It is a possession. When one hand knows exactly what the other is doing and why,poverty of spirit suffers and attachment is strengthened. There is nothing without which a denial of self can contribute to true poverty of spirit and detachment from possessions. The rich man who, at first, wanted to do more walked away sadly from You because, as scripture says, “he had many possessions.” I submit that his sadness was over the realization that he was still attached to other possessions besides material ones.