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Take It or Leave It: 5 Affirmations for letting go

Decades after leaving monastic life, the author continues to find freedom in his vow of poverty.

For eight years, I lived the life of a monk, observing the sacred vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Of those three, the vow that has stayed with me for almost five decades since leaving the monastery is poverty. Over the years, its lessons have deepened in me, defining a true spiritual path.The monk Thomas Merton wrote in Thoughts in Solitude something that I have never forgotten: “We cannot see things in perspective until we cease to hug them to our own bosom. When we let go of them we begin to appreciate them as they really are.”Merton is speaking about attachment, and the “things” he tells us we may be hugging so tightly to ourselves are not only material objects like money and property, fancy cars, and nice clothes but intangible ones, as well: emotional, mental, and even spiritual “things.”Attachment, in other words, keeps us blind to our own good. As we hug more and more “things” to our bosom, we are drawn further away from our spiritual center, where our joyful, authentic self is waiting to unfold.Read the lives of great spiritual teachers through the ages, and you will see that their fir …

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