I once dreamed that I had passed away. I never saw my body, but I knew it was me. Being aware that I didn't belong anymore to this world, the only thing that came to my mind was that this couldn't be possible; that I wasn't ready to leave; that I still had important things to do. What were those things?
When I woke up, I realized that all the activities that keep me busy and mentally occupied were insignificant, and I recognized what was really important. Those things that made me stressed and full of complaints that I didn't have enough time (running errands, doing everything around the house, planning a celebration, buying something, you name it) were not as important as I had thought.
It has been said that "spiritual detachment is a process that frees us from whatever interferes with our spiritual growth." In this context, I wonder if it is possible to gain the gift of detachment in a busy life, or if that is a Utopian attitude.
I read a meditation, written by Mother Angelica, in which she said that God speaks to our spirit; but we are so busy that we do not hear His voice, so He can't fill our emptiness.
Being a lay Catholic, I recognize that detachment is a positive thing for our souls, and we can practice some actions that help us to detach ourselves in a busy life. Here are some ideas:
1. Recognize when you are in a state of attachment.
I remember the gospel story where Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself?" Jesus taught us a beautiful lesson when he said “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42). I think we can learn from this example and apply it in our lives.
2. Read what the experts say about detachment.
Being virtuous is not easy. There are many distractions around, and the call is to "be determined to detach your heart from the love of visible things, allowing it to center on those unseen." (The Imitation of Christ, Book I, Chapter I)
We have a good chance to achieve detachment in a busy life when we are armed with spiritual tools, such as the Word of God, and recognize priorities and what is really important in life.
If Jesus is our perfect role model, it is a no-brainer that the Bible is a crucial way to feed our soul. Here is a good teaching, written by St. Paul:
"Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)
3. Put things in perspective.
To put things in perspective helps us recognize what is important and what is not. Sometimes I even feel that it wouldn't be a negative thing to leave this world now, but that thought stops when I think about the fact that my children need me. And that is why I don't want to leave this world now. After becoming a parent, we learn that it is not about us anymore.
That dream I had, though: I think I did something right and something wrong. The good thing is that I didn't worry about myself, but about leaving others behind. But it was not good that I didn't think about whether I was prepared and worthy to present myself to God, and be held accountable for the life He gave me.
Because of this dream, however, I learned that all the trivial activities that keep us busy are so insignificant compared with what really matters. And that is what I recall every time I feel overwhelmed. Those daily tasks, or even favorite things that I do and enjoy, never came to my mind when I dreamed that I had passed away.
4. Be aware of what is important in life.
Detachment is a gift because it leads to spiritual freedom, and it allows space for valuing invisible things, such as the love of others, but especially respecting the First Commandment: “I am the Lord your God; you shall not have other gods before me,” meaning that He is Number One.
Recently, my husband met a man at church who had suffered a stroke in the past. His medical forecast was poor, but, while in therapy, he started to talk to God and he heard His voice asking him what were the most important things in his life. He listed five things. When God asked him where He was on that list, the man felt sorry and begged for another opportunity. After that experience, the man had a relatively fast recovery, and is now devoted to God, living his life gratefully, and sharing his experience with others.
So the next time you feel exhausted with your daily activities that never seem to end, and you feel like you are running around in circles, pause and ask yourself: If I had to live this world right now, would these things really matter to me?
And now you can tell us: what keeps you busy in life?
Have your ever experienced a moment in which you suddenly saw things in a new perspective?
What has Our Lord taught you about priorities?
Let us know by commenting below!