Renunciation: To let go of being in the world in the ways that are ordinary, but to not let go of the world. This world is held close to the heart, to love, to serve, and to cherish from the depths of one’s being.
There are two ways of being human upon the earth: to be embedded in human life and in the human drama of life as the landscape of one’s intimate daily experience, or, to renounce this identification and to return to the world from the plane of the Divine, where love flows freely as the desire to love and serve all. Of course, one can be a mixture of these two ways, and many are.
To be embedded in the human experience is to identify the physical plane, including all its varied interactions, as most real and most desired. To return to the world after renouncing it is to identify the Divine plane as most real and most desired. One does not give up love or involvement as a result of renunciation. One gives up need and desire that comes from need. This is the way of the sannyasin, the one who has renounced the common portrayal of what it means to be human in order to accept a different definition, one created entirely by the Divine.
Living with the Unknown Divine as the source of one’s human identity involves a great leap, not only of faith but of love. One must want this Divine experience of surrender more than one wants worldly things that have labels and that can be recognized as valuable by others.
What is it to be defined by the Divine alone? It is something that most human beings have difficulty imagining because of many fears that are both hidden and visible. Among these are the fear of appearing different from others; the fear of not having needs met due to rejection by others; the fear of loneliness; and the fear of the Unknown. Among these fears, the strongest is the fear of the Unknown and of being defined by the Unknown. For the Unknown is a process, not a label. It is not a thing you can attach your name or your identity to. It is the opposite of planning, control, and knowing what will happen next. Living with the Unknown Divine as the source of one’s human identity involves a great leap, not only of faith but of love. One must want this Divine experience of surrender more than one wants worldly things that have labels and that can be recognized as valuable by others.
To cross from one definition of ‘being human’ to another is to take a huge step in spiritual evolution. It is to surrender one’s entire life so that it may be directed by an invisible force. This force exerts its influence when it will and how it will. It is not predictable, knowable, or manageable. One must wish with all one’s heart to be joined with this invisible force in order to let go of all that must be let go of regarding past definitions of what ‘being human’ meant.
Through renunciation, one becomes free to live a Divine life. This life may not have the comforts or outer trappings of what worldly standards consider to be a ‘good’ life. It is only good from the standpoint of the inner being.
The true ‘sannyasin’ has given up the need to look or act like anyone else. He or she goes his way alone, listening always to the inner Voice that determines the direction in which to travel. This inner Voice may be audible or inaudible, verbal or non-verbal. No matter how it appears, it is the Beloved appearing within the heart and soul, the stream that flows from the Source of life into one’s own consciousness that shapes this consciousness to be what it wishes it to be.
Those who seek to manage or control their own life and to ‘know’ what the future will bring cannot fathom the joy of letting go of the need to know. They cannot fathom the great freedom that comes from not having to be other than what one’s deepest being wishes one to be. Freedom and joy are the Divine gifts of letting go of all else. For the inner communion that takes places with the Divine Beloved has replaced all outer considerations in its immeasurably greater value. This inner communion is the intimate relationship with the Divine on all levels of being. It allows one to feel that one is perpetually and finally in one’s rightful home.