We have come to one of the most sensitive of the subdivision of mind’s perverts. Discussing it even in the mystical classes is so challenging because it touches on the family psyche. The subject could be baffling especially to the nitpickers, nevertheless, I will attempt to unravel what was considered as a dissonance on the part of the Messiah-Jesus Christ.
In harping of the negative nature of earthly attachment, Jesus taught in Mathew 6: 19-21 on quote: “Lay not your treasures upon the face of the earth where thieves break through and moth doth corrupt. But lay your treasures in heavens where thieves cannot break through nor moth corrupt, for where lie your treasures there your heart will be.”
This admonition of Christ could be taken as counsel for us to make provision for the hereafter, but the matter became brash when we read Christ again in Luke 14 vs 26 thus: “If a man comes to me, and hates not his father, mother, wife and children, even his own self, he cannot be my disciple.”
In another breath, we quote Christ in Luke 10 vs 34-35 again saying: “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against the father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against mother in-law.”
When we read all these, there is a tendency to be bewildered about how a Messiah: a Beacon of Peace could be talking about hatred when His purpose was to redeem mankind. If we are in such befuddlement, the reason may have to do with our limitations of our real nature. We will attempt to make this clearer to all and sundry.
It has always been taught and acknowledged that man is half beast and half angel. In other words, man is a combination of a terrestrial and celestial being without exception. The Mystics in making a meal of this matter maintain that man is actually a spiritual being now in the world undergoing human experience. We are not human beings we imagine ourselves to be, seeking spiritual experience. To explain this status of man, the Mystics have depicted the plight of an average man with the anecdote of a King and a servant. The narrative goes thus:
A certain King sent his servant to a foreign land for a specific mission. Just one mission, nothing else. On getting to the foreign land the servant did so many wonderful things, he climbed a social tree, became famous but that one mission of the King he forgot altogether.
On reaching back to the King’s Court, the servant was welcomed back and after some time, the King sent for him to inquire about the mission for which he sent him out. Present before the King, the servant was asked about the errand of the King.
The servant was dumbfounded. The King asked him again: What about my mission? Did you do it or not? Still the servant dropped his head in shame. The King then became furious and angrily, he changed at the servant once more saying: Did you act on my errand or not?
The servant murmured, my Lord I am sorry, I am unfit for your presence. I forgot your errand. The place you sent me to is a beautiful place. I got married, had children, my responsibilities increased and I opened a shop. As the servant wanted to continue with his stuttering, the King interrupted and sternly cursed him in the following manner:
You are a complete letdown. I sent you to a foreign land for just one mission. You got yourself entrapped with the paraphernalia conceptualised to cushion the effects of your stay in the foreign land, but the only task of mine for which fulfillment you were sent out you forgot. Fulfillment of my mission is a MUST. There will be no rest for you. You will be tied hands and feet, punished and sent back to fulfill that mission of mine willy nilly.
This narrative may explain the plight of mankind vis a vis the harsh saying of the Messiah. The King in the story is the Supreme Lord, while the servant represents the average man. The paraphernalia mentioned (hard to say) depicts our family members, associates, friends and the community we transversed. It may sound not comforting, the truth is, the purpose of them all, is to soothe our sojourn in this world and our relationship with them being karmic, does not extend beyond the earthly plane. At best, it extends to and terminates at the grave yard or crematorium.
In forgetfulness of the mission of the Lord, for which purpose we have descended into the world, we have remained in the world moving from one body to the other. This is deemed as reincarnation which we will make explicit in subsequent series, irrespective of whatever we believe, not believe, or we might have read in any scripture. After all, whatever we read is not our individual experience. Somewhat, they represent accounts of someone else, that, we are trying desperately to grasp or accept, having not come by a better understanding or experience of the subject perhaps.
It must be explained that like all other perversions, a bit of attachment is considered necessary for kindness to flow in us. The positive nature of mild attachment induces fellow feelings, humaneness and compassion. All these are of essence but we need to draw a line when any of them competes with our chief interest which is our love for the Lord, given the fact that our devotion is the only passport to the Lord’s bosom. Nothing else avails.
We therefore must understand the nature of excessive attachment to be able to guide against it. Another word for attachment is infatuation. Infatuation creeps up slowly upon its victims with good credentials. Its ideas are of course plausible, or who among us wouldn’t deem it appropriate to have and enjoy spouse, children, positions of honour, of public service, money, houses, lands and shareholdings?
We may indeed concede all these are necessary and proper. The individual accepts and embraces them as sine-qua-non of earthly life and upon this, our mischievous friend-attachment steps in with such benevolent airs and says: Surely we must give diligent attention to these things. It is our duty. Right there and then, attachment begins its deadly work which is to blind us to relative values of our surroundings and associations, so that we may begin to set a false value upon them.
Once we have taken them up as our main priorities in life, we instantly forget they are mere paraphernalia that wouldn’t follow us beyond the grave. That is the chief aim of the Negative Power to make us forget our mission in the world, through our attachment to earthly relations and things.
This is the crucial point of the whole matter. No time for self-development anymore. None for spiritual devotion and if at all, our devotion has become superficial. We go to places of worship and we have to be pleaded with to put our phone on silence or vibration. What for? We want to stay in touch with Caesar or the world while worshiping God.
With such intermix, we are actually worshipping God and at the same time entertaining mammon. Funny enough, when we go before earthly men for interviews or favours, we don’t forget to leave our phones behind lest: We are deemed a nuisance. But before God our hypocrisy knows no bounds.
We are to remember we have been offered the opportunity of human body and now in this world for the purpose of redeeming our souls from the pen-house of the Negative Power where we are all roasting in the fire of our desires. Our salvation on the day of reckoning lies on our one-pointed devotion. No one earthly relation or thing will matter, when we will have to account for all our deeds in the world.
The sole aim of attachment is to keep us away from doing the one mission of the Lord in this world. If it can keep us from thinking about it, the Negative Power- the Gatekeeper of this world is well pleased. If however, we think about our devotion to the Lord, the mind under the illusion of attachment steps up quickly and tells us, for now we have no time for that sort of things. It tricks us into thinking by and by when circumstances are more favourable, we will attend to devotion.
For now we must attend to worldly duties and attainment. To pacify us, the mind promises that the time will soon come when our burden of duties will grow less. Only then we will have time for devotion to our Creator. With such procrastination, we are reserving the useless period of our life to the Giver of life itself. We have witnessed people trying to be chaste only when the body is no longer active. Is that not like refusing food only when we are not hungry? Is there any real discipline in that? This is one of the numerous hypocrisies of man.
Attachment is the king of procrastination. Worries, anxieties and worldly challenges follow everyone to the grave. Seldom does one get away from them. Almost the whole of lifetime is devoted in trying to perpetuate the physical existence. We have become a slave to our acquisitions instead of the other way round.
This is exactly what attachment does for us. It skilfully holds our nose to the grindstone until the very moment when the Doctor says it is over and pulls the sheet over our face. We have been busy all our lives yet, that one thing that really worth doing, we have neglected. No doubt, we have worked like the battle of Gettysburg. But what has it brought for us? Only unending worry, pain, anguish and the final darkness of death.
End result? We have inherited the world in the course of which we have lost our soul. Even what we thought we have inherited we are losing them all at the point of death, by losing the body with which we were related to all our relationships and worldly wealth. It is often too late before we realise the vanity of the earthly life. We are now naked and stripped of everything. What a tragedy?
It is not all gloom provided we can use our discerning mind. Most of the scriptures were not chronological put together thus; They contained scattered spiritual gems. We need the grace of a discerning mind to blend the gems contained in the scriptures. While the statements of Christ cited in the beginning might seem harsh, we will find their reasons and true meaning in Mark 12 vs 17 in which Christ had clarified to wit: “Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s.” Caesar in that context depicts the Ruler of the world, its regime, earthly things or settings.
In effect, everything we come by in this world, be it relationship, acquisitions and anything for that matter, are all of Caesar’s. Indeed we too are of Caesar’s until we are able to redeem ourselves from its clutches. That is plainly telling us we have to discharge our duties without fail or falter to our parents, spouse children, relatives, associates and the environment we find ourselves. We owe them karmic responsibility which must be fulfilled.
Albeit, in doing so, we must have our mission in this world in view and attended to with unwavering attention. We have been offered the human birth to use it to free ourselves from the shackles of the Negative Power, whom the Lord in His Wisdom and Grand Design has put in charge to superintend the physical world, astral and up till the causal plane. His task is to ensure no unclean soul passes his domain, to the unsullied and desire-less State of the Supreme Lord. We all must contend with this lesser god, as the Messiah, Prophets and Avaters have done, some are still doing and the people in the world must ever do.
Ergo: We are to live in the world in a sensible way. We are to enjoy the world and its objects, discharge our responsibilities to its paraphernalia, while being very conscious of their true worth. They are meant to serve us, by cushioning the effect of our sojourn in this world. We are to take full service from them, but we must NEVER become their slave.
We are to earn wealth honesty and spend it as we will do a Trust Fund. Spend it reasonably on family members and on charity. We are to attend to work during the day. But at early morning, we must give some time daily to devotion and meditation. The day we don’t have a communion with our Creator should be regarded as a day wasted, which indeed it is. Devotion is our real work. All other things are mere embellishments.
Beyond the shadow of a doubt, of all we do during the day, very few if at all is for ourselves. Much more is for family, friends and the community. In such situation, we fit into the description of someone whose house is on fire, but abandons it to assist others to extinguish the fire in theirs. A height of tomfoolery perhaps! Even the body that we adorn daily will not accompany us on the last journey. It must be dropped behind to be cremated or buried, for maggots and all earthly insects to feast upon.
Let us therefore heed the call asking us to liberate ourselves from the prison-house of the Negative Power. The Lord fervently awaits our home coming, in the manner a loving Father is always anxious to welcome his estranged son back unto his laps. Life is short, fleeting and the world is evanescent. We are to live in it like a lotus flower, although immersed in water yet, it leaves remain ever dry. Thus; Live in the world, but be not of the world.
I will be bidding us bye this week with the statement of Christ culled from John 9 vs 4. It reads: “I must do the work of Him that sent me while it is day, the night cometh when no one can work.” We have the opportunity to worship God only while living. Once we shed the mortal coil, the night has come for us, we cannot worship the Lord anymore. No prayer of the Priests or Imams can save us at this moment. What will stand us in good stead that auspicious time is what we deployed our life to, when we had the boon of life.
Finally, Mystics don’t ask us to give up our religion for another, nor do they ask us to renounce our family or the world. They however enjoin us to live with our spouse and children sensibly, to carry on with our legitimate profession and while doing all these, we must remain punctual and regular to the most important of our duties, which is devotion to God by listening to His voice, the Celestial Sound within. The maxim is Verbum Sapienti Est.
We will move on to discussing the vilest of all the perversions: EGO, next week.
. Aare Oyefeso is a Lagos-based philosopher and businessman.