Mary Magdalene's Lessons: Detachment

January 26, 2017

 One thing we know about Mary Magdalene is that she she left her home, her family, and her comfort to walk with Jesus and follow her heart. She practiced detachment, and as a result, she was able to walk in the path of transformation. 

 

What is Detachment?
One of the best definitions of detachment is "the determination to be free." Another is "let go". Detachment is the state that helps us maintain peace and calm when we can’t change or control something. 

 

Instead of reacting with nervousness, anger or unhappiness to a situation, the person who practices detachment remains calm and tries again. Thus he or she achieves inner peace and strength, and reflects courage.

 

An Attitude of Love
Detachment helps us to love because to hold on to something or to someone is to lose freedom and cause suffering. This doesn't mean that one can’t feel devotion for a person or admiration for a concept.

 

Detachment is the opposite of dependence. It's important to set limits for yourself and for others, so that relationships with loved ones do not become prisons made of expectations and manipulation.

 

By practicing detachment, the person renounces being a victim and leaves behind the need to judge and control. This in turn demonstrates a greater and more complex love.

 

Being willing to control negative and destructive impulses, the person expresses more clearly his or her love and commitment.

 

Freedom, Money and Possessions
Making the determination to be free does not mean that dreams, goals and desires are set aside. By living in a material world, symbols of abundance such as money, possessions and knowledge can be a means to contribute to creating a better world for all human beings.

 

However, when the pursuit of these symbols leads to the loss of freedom, it's appropriate to examine whether attachment to the material makes sense in the context of everyday life. When buying a house, a car or even a poorly planned college education creates debts that weight on the soul, it would be wise to ask oneself what is worth more: the opinion of others or freedom?

 

The opposite is just as disturbing. Not doing something, like working or keeping a commitment, because we don’t want to be materialistic is not detachment if it affects the well-being of the self and of loved ones.

 

Addictions
One consequence of attachment is addiction. When a person gives control of their life to another person, thing or place, they risk losing their freedom. 

 

Our lives can become "hell" if we lose faith in a better tomorrow. That's why 12-step programs emphasize putting problems "into the hands of God." Detachment requires faith.

 

Uncertainty and Faith
Faith, according to the Bible is "the guarantee of what is expected, the certainty of what is not seen." Faith is knowing that everything will turn out well. 

 

Faith requires detachment because putting something "in the hands of God" means submitting to the Divine Will. Faith can be cultivated at the same time as detachment is practiced.

 

Cultivate Faith and Practice Detachment
To have faith you do not have to believe in anything concrete, but you do need to choose the way in which you will look at a situation. 

 

Everything has a positive side, even if it means learning to let go and accept. To cultivate faith, we must accept that everything that happens will bring something good. Bad teaches, good gives pleasure. With this attitude towards faith, you can practice detachment:

 

  • Identify your feelings of attachment.

  • Accept responsibility for your actions and feelings.

  • Adopt a sentence or prayer to say when you find yourself falling into a situation of dependency or manipulation.

  • Take creative action. Write, paint, dance, create something. Practice enjoying the process and remain detached from the outcome.

  • Celebrate your freedom. Every time you remember that you are free, give thanks.

You are on your way to achieving the greatest miracle of your life: freedom. Detachment, along with surrender, compassion and forgiveness, is one of the first steps toward a life full of miracles.

 

(Artwork: Mary Magdalene of Growth by Tanya Torres)

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