Freedom, Liberation, & Non-Attachment (Spirituality Stage IV)

Excerpt from Chapter 2 - Measuring Spirituality

Gandhi is a movie that I think demonstrates a person living primarily in Stage IV freedom during his last few decades. Yes, he had his moments of being ego-driven where he was not in Stage IV; but so do we all. The key element to understanding Stage IV folks is to understand that they are quite unattached to almost everything. They may fall back into ego-drive occasionally, but that is not the norm for them.

If this stage of freedom appeals to you, please rent the movie Gandhi, to be inspired again by someone who was able to create such massive changes here on the planet. (Whether the movie's facts are true is not much matter to me; as acted by Ben Kingsley, Stage IV predominates.) Gandhi was strongly motivated to take various actions, but he was not interested in the personal outcome for himself. If the British jailed him for his latest protest, so be it. If he died because of his fasts, so be it. He knew the ultimate outcome would be freedom for India, but the timing was not up to him. He did what he considered best in the moment; for example, he broke off an "important" meeting with visiting bigwigs to go help a young child tend a goat. He showed his non-attachment to sexuality with his many years of celibacy. (Note: I do not think celibacy is required for Stage IV.) He was free enough to follow the dictates of his soul.

According to Smith (1991, p. 21), what Stage IV people "seek is joy, a feeling tone that is the opposite of frustration, futility and boredom." I avoid the word, joy, because it is a favorite word of those who are just pursuing fun, excitement or group highs. I do know there is loveliness in the world and in my experiencing that I mildly gravitate towards these days. But, when I don't get it, I am neither unhappy nor bothered. I am not attached to it. I call it an exquisite loveliness but it might also be called bliss, or ecstasy, or joy. I do not find myself actively seeking it. If it appears, great! If it does not, it isn't meant to be. Instead, I follow my energy and my impulses; which means that when I am not hooked by neurotic-ego, things work out well.

Here at the fourth stage, I depart from two of Huston Smith's (1991, p. 20) ideas. He suggests that those in Stage IV will possess great curiosity and have a desire for being (i.e., not dying). I find myself not very curious except to learn necessary information for my path. For example, I have looked at many New Age books recently, but often I have studied them only enough to determine how they fit the ideas presented in this book. To support his case for a "desire for being," Smith uses the example of WWII fighter pilots about to embark on highly dangerous missions who had "a profound reluctance to give up the future." That seems like an attachment to me. My thought is that if I die tomorrow, then my life obviously is complete. So be it. I'll see you next time around.

Much more on non-attachment will follow in Chapter 3. More on loveliness will follow in Chapter 15, where I talk of essence contact (i.e., contacting the soul).

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© 2008 by Thayer White
Finding Your Soul in the Spirituality Maze


This Chapter
    Related Pages:
Attachment and Non-Attachment
Path of Non-Attachment
Attachment to Pleasure, Desire, Fun, Excitement
Attachment to Service
How Non-Attached Are You?

Excerpt from Be Your Own Therapist: "Anger is ALWAYS based upon unfulfilled expectations; fully let go of the expecting, and your anger will be no more."