Purifying the heart (4/7): Attachments to objects connected with duties bind us

“By not eating, you gather the impressions of ‘not eating’. Doing or not doing anything— whether sleeping, staying awake or even breathing—creates impressions on your mind. Therefore you may fast indefinitely, hang yourself upside down or knock out your brains on a slab of stone, and yet not free your mind of its impressions.

“Why then should you necessarily give up eating, drinking, doing your duty to your wife and children and looking after the welfare of others? Such duties do not obstruct your way to the path at all. What do come in your way are the bindings which you create unnecessarily for yourself through attachment to the objects connected with those duties. You can own the world without being attached to it so long as you do not allow yourself to be owned by any part of it.

“Suppose, for instance, that a man, in spite of doing his best, loses his family and is unable to obtain enough to eat for himself. If he remains unconcerned, this amounts to his having really given up both his family and eating.

“A real fast for the mind is to have no thoughts at all, but ordinarily this is impossible. Knowingly or unknowingly, like breathing, thoughts keep coming and going, whether you are dreaming the dream of your life or the dreams in your sleep. You become completely free of thoughts only when you are in the state of sound sleep—the most-original beyond-beyond state of God. But in sound sleep you also lose consciousness. Your mind is then temporarily at rest, but not freed of its impressions.

-Listen Humanity, p42

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