Do you rush about, getting stressed, trying to work on several projects in the same day or week? Do you seldom take the time to remember to surrender all these projects, along with yourself, to the grace and flow of the energy of God? You probably never thought of this practice as renunciation, but yes, that is exactly what it is. When you learn to renounce, it does not mean you give everything up. It simply means you renounce the doer-ship of all you do, fulfill your duty with your best effort, and trust the results to the Divine.
Renunciation is essentially giving up the unwanted clutter of life. You need to be a sculptor, looking at the stone yet seeing at the same time the image that you want to create from it. The image is already there; you only have to chip away the unwanted parts!
Following the Truth does not need any renunciation or giving up other than moment-to-moment awareness of what you are doing and what you are thinking. Then you can remove the unwanted from your system, tuning your subtler system with the higher self already within you. You don’t have to give up this or that; give up nothing but your false identification with your ego. You do not need to leave everyone and everything behind and become a renunciate monk or nun to find peace and solitude in life. Instead try the following experiment.
Lie on the bed and totally relax. Relax every part of your body and know that you have nothing to do. There is nothing to do. That is the most important thing you have to learn. You have nothing to do. Nothing. Nothing at all. Everything that you do, you do by the grace and power of God. You do nothing.
That is the true renunciation; realizing that you have nothing to do, that the Divine does everything through you. What is renunciation? It is not becoming a monk or nun. It is not living in the forest, in the mountains, or the monastery. It is renouncing all that you do; it is renouncing all the effort in what you do. You trust. You surrender. You do what you do without any effort at all, in the flow of the life that you are.
Your body is made of water, it is meant to flow. It is not meant to tighten up, and jerk here, jerk there. When you trust, when you surrender and know the Doer who works from within, your life flows like a beautiful river. Yes, there are rocks, there are obstacles at the bottom of the river, but the river flows over them effortlessly, joyfully.
You do not even have to meditate. If you think you have to meditate, that too can become a tension. It becomes a rule, a rock that you trip over. Your mind begins to think, “I can’t.” The mind doesn’t like rules. Give the mind a rule, and it will show you who is in charge. That is the problem everywhere; too many rules and things to do. Rules, rules, rules.
The true meaning of renunciation can be so misinterpreted that it can even lead to people torturing the body in the name of religious rules and practices. Why should you torture the most beautiful gift of your body? You need to become aware that you are not your body, but your body is your residence. That is enough. Do not torture the body, but light the lamp of awareness that shows your Beloved lives in your body.
Just close your eyes, become intensely conscious of your body. Gradually the light of consciousness will awaken the sleeping beauty within, your Beloved. Don’t renounce your body; love your body as you love a beautiful church or temple. But don't forget that all the pains you have taken to reach the temple or the church is not just to see the temple or the church, but also to see the Divine within!!
Renunciation is not about hurting your body or leaving your family and world behind to escape to a euphoric land of peace and bliss! Renunciation is your natural, childlike state. But an awakened child! Practice awareness, practice self-love, practice positive affirmations. Let your energy vibrate at a higher frequency so that you have abundance, but are not clinging to anything in life. The goal is to live a dispassionately passionate life, a simple humble life of celebration.
Renunciation is an attitude, not an aversion to life. It is life affirming and not life negating. When we are ready to renounce the miseries of the outer world, anchor within and then flow from inside to the outside, then life moves as the fragrance of flowers.
Shuddhaanandaa Brahmachari (Kolkata, India): Globally acclaimed motivational teacher (mindfulness meditation, stress reduction) author, peacemaker (Man of Peace Award 2012) Visionary social advocate; founded Lokenath Divine Life Mission, 1985. Serves thousands of poverty-stricken individuals in India. (Lifetime Achievement Award, S.T.A.R. Foundation, UK, 2015)