On The Art of Renunciation

The aforementioned is one of the most misunderstood concepts in the modern world. In past eons it was a quite a well practiced ideology for the men and women who were weary of the ordinary experiences in their life and sought to attain wisdom in order to create a new perspective in their lives.

Its just impossible to renounce totally in the modern times because the doctrines of materialism have had an extra-tight grip on all walks of life. Even the ones who claim to seek a way out of desires usually have a strong impetus to remain attached to things they themselves are not aware of. 

There exists innumerable examples of men of knowledge who in the distant past followed the path with discipline and eventually attained to a profound state of intellect. In the recorded history these men and women appeared in all corners of the Earth, be it a Socrates, a Jesus, a Plato, a Zoroaster et all. Such people are now looked at as too extraordinary and beyond the fathom of any understanding. But such people lived in the same world as we do today and related with people in their day-to-day activities exactly in the same way as we do today. Maybe the only advantage they enjoyed back then is that there were fewer distractions as there are today. On the contrary they suffered the untold distraction of war and a lack effective means of transport as we enjoy today. For instance a person in the ancient Greek would have fewer resources, if any, to travel to the next continent to learn new knowledge whereas in the current world one need not even travel to read a good book in a library somewhere in China. The book can be purchased in the click of a button from Amazon.

Hence while life has become easier, other attainments have become increasingly become difficulty because of a mind clouding that has accumulated among humanity with the progress of civilizations. In the long-gone past interested people used to leave their earthly endeavors in search of experiences, some deep in the forests (in order to still the mind) and some to Masters that would teach them gracefully on the merits of the path they had chosen to follow. 

Wealth has increased so much but man has become poorer in spirit, as Jesus once warned his disciples. This has led to increased rates of religious exploitation because deep down man knows there is a particular void in him that needs to be filled with certain matter that is totally different from the conventional means. 

It is no accident that those walked the ‘untrodden’ path are widely worshipped in different parts of the world. But this need not be  seen in bad light as devoting to such deities increases the chances of one attaining similar purity in future afterlives. This could be one of few traditions that have lasted the test of times though seen in the wrong perspective, due to the worshipper’s innate desire for personal gain.

With regard to these developments, new teachers of wisdom, if they arise in the future, will understand that renouncing is an outdated methodology and thus they will have to forge new and innovative methods to help their students if any tangible results are to be acquired. This is so because attachment has become so ingrained and men can hardly figure any other way of life other than that of indulgence. They will have to devise methods that integrate total indulgence in their methods because its only through total indulgence that one can have a rare opportunity to see the intended light. This is akin to subjecting someone who has stayed for many months in a completely dark room that when they are finally exposed to bright light their eyes aches nearly to blindness.

Those individuals in the past who used this skill to success made the mistake to label indulgence as a heinous sin, a scene that appears in all religions. Materialism is not to be seen negatively. Wealth is the best thing that can happen to any civilization. But the problem is that canal desires have become, in the modern life, so glorified as an end to the means of eternal happiness for a people. This is a point I have highlighted in a different blog post where Jesus gave the parable of his encounter with Satan, in which case he symbolizes desire with Satan and utters the admonition that man shall not live on bread alone.

The very ideology of renunciation is a stage in itself, not an end to certain means. Its a deliberate move to break off habits momentarily in order to foster a certain perspective that should enable the sight of the world, the doings of one and the people around them, in pure clarity. As we live we mostly live without the slightest awareness. Which means if one acquires some level of awareness they get to experience life in a certain different way that’s not easy to express but it’s effectively what effectuates living through every experience in life purposely.

By Loffi Ruskins