The Meaning of Relinquishments
Originally published in the Friends of Peace Pilgrim Newsletter – Winter 2007 Relinquishments mean that we learn to live with things we really need, whatever our needs might be. As Peace Pilgrim said: “Material things have to be put in their proper place. They are here to be used; to be used well; that’s why they exist. But when they are no longer needed, we should be quick to give them away, perhaps to someone who needs them even more. Anything you cannot relinquish when it has exceeded its usefulness possesses you; and in this materialistic era of ours we are very much possessed by our possessions.” Charito – When we speak of relinquishments, are we saying that we will relinquish worldly things? Mayte – It means that we learn to live with things we really need, whatever our needs might be. As Peace Pilgrim said: "Material things have to be put in their proper place. They are here to be used; to be used well; that's why they exist. But when they are no longer needed, we should be quick to give them away, perhaps to someone who needs them even more. Anything you cannot relinquish when it has exceeded its usefulness possesses you; and in this materialistic era of ours we are very much possessed by our possessions." Let's speak of another type of possessiveness. Peace said to us: "When we think we possess people we have the tendency to direct their lives, which leads to extreme disharmony. Only when we realize that we do not possess others, that they must live according to their own internal motivations, only when we let them direct their lives do we discover that we are able to live in harmony with them." Here we are speaking of a true respect for others. In fact each of us is solely responsible for our own life. As the great Mexican leader Benito Juárez said so wisely, "Respect for the rights of others is peace." Charito – Our mass media world sends us the message to monopolize everything and to have everything. Does this mean that the spiritual world, characterized by abundance, affectionate caring, and sharing with everyone must be antagonistic with the ‘real' world, characterized by material scarcity and the constant drive to have as much of everything as possible? Mayte – A remarkable British economist, E. F. Schumacher, has written a book, Small Is Beautiful, about this from the perspective. True success, independent of our economic resources, is to dedicate our life to activities that encourage and support the spirit, independent of isolated profits. Truly successful people have profits that involve all their being and obtain a style of life that benefits, in addition to the individual, all those around him. As David R. Hawkins puts it in his book, Power vs. Force, truly successful people are courteous and considerate with everyone, treating all as equals. "Truly successful people are not inclined to act arrogantly, because they do not consider themselves better than others, only more lucky. They see their position as a responsibility, an obligation to exert their influence for the greater benefit of all." He clearly explains, "Success elevates us or destroys us, depending not on the success itself, but on how we integrate it in our personalities. If we are proud or humble; if we are egotistical or thankful; if we consider ourselves better than others because of our talents or we consider our talents a gift, and for them we are thankful — these are the determining factors." Charito – Must the spiritual world, characterized by abundance, be antagonistic with the everyday world in which we live day to day? Mayte – Each is a marvelous complement with the other when we remember the presence of God in our lives. A fundamental element to be truly successful is the knowledge that all we do is by the grace of God. God is the power that moves the world. We are all ONE with GOD. True success in life happens when we profoundly understand that we are an instrument of God to do good, to bring peace and harmony to others, to do the best we can for the benefit of humanity. This happens when we understand from the depths of our being that we are messengers of the divine word, and when we live to give, the meaning of success is transformed into a sublime activity full of love. Charito – Can speaking of relinquishments be something that produces a fear to give away joy in life? Do you think we can feel happy for relinquishing certain things? Mayte – The word relinquishment has a great variety of meanings. It can be interpreted as to give, to sur-render, to stop, to leave, to dedicate or to sacrifice. It can also be interpreted as to stop doing something that causes great personal joy and from this perspective perhaps we could use another word that better des-cribes what we are speaking about. In fact what I'm talking about is to consider the meaning as to dedicate oneself to serve others, to reflect on making possible pertinent life changes which facilitate a more profound spiritual encounter with God, from the highest part of ourselves and from the inner being, the soul, with the people we relate to and to those we have an oppor-tunity to serve. There is great joy in service to others. Charito – What is it that I can achieve when relin-quishing certain aspects of my life? Mayte – Inner peace is the single and only source of happiness and each step we take, each new activity we initiate and each thought and positive feeling we have, allows us to bring harmony into life which will lead us to reach inner peace. Peace comes to us when we learn to live according to the laws of God and the universe. Let us consider how each living entity on the planet evolves and develops – "from a seed to a flower and seeds for new life again." This model of life in balance can teach us something on how we can plan and allow our lives to unfold – day to day. We can begin by asking ourselves, does each day unfold in a balanced way? Are we making our lives more complex than need be? If we found that this can be improved, what opportunities exist to re-establish balance? In the book , The Tao of Inner Peace, Dianne Dreher suggests we have these questions in mind:
- Is there anything you wish to delegate, eliminate or in any way simplify?
- Is there anything lacking in your life?
- Can you create space for it by reducing involvement in other areas?
She sees us as architects designing a beautiful structure which we call our life. On this beautiful day I want to close this interview by sharing phrases of the Sabian Assembly that encourage me to live a life of abundance based on service to others.
- I dedicate my world to God in every thought and act.
- Whatever I take from life I accept as high responsibility.
- The goods for which I strive are of eternal worth.
- My riches have their source in God's abundance.