No need to renounce what was never mine. But if I must renounce, I renounce this breath.
Renouncing my breath, all else in my life must be surrendered. I confess that this breath is not mine. I did not create this breath. It is a gift.
I renounce wine by tasting it with deeper devotion. I become aware of every flavor, touch, fragrance, color. I am born on earth for this sacrament of sensation, this marriage of perception and awareness.
When I am awake, sensuality is renunciation, renunciation is sensuality. I can become so fully aware of a sensation that in its deepest center is silence, where I can taste awareness itself. Then, so effortlessly and gently, I let go of the sweetness that first enticed me to it. For the taste of awareness out-sweetens its object.
Is there not a vast difference between losing myself in the sensation, and tasting it deeply, with awareness? This is the difference between sensuality and sacrament.
If the Self is awake in the moment I taste this wine, I am not this wine. The moment I scent this rose, I am not this rose. The moment I perceive the business of the marketplace, I am not this busy-ness: I am the stillness that sees. And the moment I witness time passing, I am eternal. For the seer must be other than the seen.
Therefor, the instant I fearlessly perceive my most vicious impurity, without judgment or rejection, I am pure!
Hence the real meaning of repentance, "metanoia" in Greek. "Meta" means beyond, "nous" means intellect. To repent is to move beyond the restless images and sensations of the mind, to go beyond the intellect, and rest as the silent Witness.
The objects of my worldly passion manifest before my senses for this very reason: so that in becoming aware of them, awareness may taste itself, and be liberated.
This is why I not only bow down to roses, birds, clouds and babies; I bow down to all that binds me, all that makes me angry, lustful, jealous. Impurities are here to free me from impurity. I bow down to my liberator in the form of whatever arises in the great mandala of the present moment. Thus the Vedic text decrees:
Apavitrah pavitro wa"Whether pure or impure, whether full of purity or impurity, one who gazes on the lotus-eyed Lord, who is the very Self, gains inner and outer purity!"
Sarwa vasthan gatopi wa
Sa bahya-abyantarah shuchih
Yes, it is very difficult to renounce a single sin, a single obsession, or even a single thought. It is much easier to renounce everything at once! By becoming aware of this world, I am not the world. By becoming aware of my mind, even with a thousand chattering thoughts and desires, I am not the mind!"Blessed is this human birth. Dwellers in heaven desire this birth, for true wisdom and pure love are attained only by humanity."Angels envy us. They are so absorbed in beauty their awareness is lost in celestial delight. They are in bondage, even though the chains that bind them are made of golden flowers.
~Srimad Bhagavatam, 11.13
That is why the gods must be reborn in this world of pain and joy, love and anger, a world opposites, to gain liberation. Here our attention can't get lost in any sensation for more than a moment. The Self just won't get stuck in a paradox of opposites. Only on earth is awareness jolted into Self-awareness. *
Desert air contains the mirage while remaining perfectly empty and still. So awareness allows the shimmer and din of the world to appear, while remaining silent and pure.
By giving waves room to play, the ocean is whole and one. The boundless sky does not resist the clouds that arise and dissolve within it. Friend, you are always already effortlessly surrendered.