(Keep in mind that “immortality” here means spiritual liberation, not physical immortality but the living realization of the Spiritual Self that never dies.)
When all the desires that surge in the heart
Are renounced, the mortal becomes immortal.
When all the knots that strangle the heart
Are loosened, the mortal becomes immortal.
Here in this very life.
(Translation from Eknath Easwaran)
The task at hand is to renounce desire, undo the knots that strangle the heart. What does that mean? Detachment.
“Renounce” is a trumped up way of saying “let go.” Our desires pull us toward some things and away from other things, creating cravings in one direction and fears in the other. That is why we work at letting go of both our attachments and our aversions–the things we really want and things we really don’t want. It’s all just baggage, just trappings that obscure the True Self.
Like a drag queen taking herself too seriously, the outside is just for show and the minute we forget it, we’ve lost the point.
Another way of looking at it is taking the long view. The things that seem so important to us right now are only important relative to other things. In the long run, nothing matters but embodying your authentic Self, which by the way is made of love.
On the mat we practice detachment, letting go. Detachment can be scary. What’s left? What is there to hold on to? Who am I after I’ve let go of all my likes and dislikes, all my needs and fears?
First of all, those things we like and dislike, that we think of as making up who we are, they don’t just disappear. They are still there, just in their rightful place, seen as constructs and no longer central to who we think we are. (Constructs, as in, we constructed them. And whatever we’ve built we can alter.)
And secondly, any talk of detachment must be balanced by compassion. When you have let go of all the likes and dislikes, attachments and aversions, all of the preferences that make up the ego personality, what’s left is the True Self, which we all have in common. It is made of love, and compassion is its base state. So, who are you when you’ve let go of everything? You are pure love. Free to shine all the time.