Friday, March 13, 2009

Detachment

"The word 'detachment,' valued by early monks as a virtue, has almost lost its positive connotation. Nowadays it is most often used in a negative sense, to mean the opposite of a healthy engagement with the world, and with other people. It conveys a sense of aloofness, a studied remoteness that signifies a lack of concern for others. The monastic interpretation of 'detachment' could not be more different: in this tradition it means not allowing either worldly values or self-centeredness to distract us from what is most essential in our relationship with God, and with each other. One sixth-century monk, Dorotheus of Gaza, describes detachment as being 'free from [wanting] certain things to happen,' and remaining so trusting of God that 'what is happening will be the thing you want and you will be at peace with all.'"

Kathleen Norris, Amazing Grace, page 32