Sacrificing for the sake of the higher
Sacrifice today is seen in a negative light. Now it’s all about “me” and “my freedom”, about doing what I want. Freedom is wonderful, and without it we are lost. But we can’t have everything, nor is everything good for us. There are even some things that we really want but which are detrimental to our bodies or minds. And this is where the need for sacrifice comes in.
Sacrifice is about giving up what is lower for what is higher. It is to relinquish the less ideal for the more ideal. Most things that are worth aspiring to require sacrifice. If they didn’t, there would be no need to work towards them; they would be ours now.
This doesn’t mean that sacrifice is easy. It is very difficult to give up things that we are accustomed to, are attracted to or are addicted to. As animals, our pleasure instinct is strong. It is the drive that has allowed us to satiate all our carnal desires for eons of time. To act against it is contrary to our baser nature but necessary if we want to transcend our animality. But because of the hold our desires have over us, great effort and perseverance is required to overcome the callings of our carnal selves.
It can also be very sad to let go of things that we cherish. It is not just desire that stands in our way, but also emotional attachment. The longer we we hold something in our life, the more dear it becomes to us. Even the things that we long for, which we have failed to actualise, can be held as dear. Often these unfulfilled wishes must also be relinquished, and though we don’t actually grasp them, the desire for these things is no less easy to let go of.
What really allows us to relinquish the things our body, mind and heart hold onto is a higher sense of love. We let go of the things we value because our faith is placed in something higher, something great than we already have. Essentially, sacrifice is an act of devotion. We wish to devote ourselves to what we hold as most ideal and are willing to renounce anything that stands in our way. It becomes most difficult to sacrifice these things when we forget what we are devoted to, what our ultimate aim is. Sometimes, we still have our goal in mind, but we cease to remember how important it is. It is at these times that we may fail to make the necessary sacrifices and fall victim to our desires and attachments. This is a type of self-sabotage. In a way we are deceiving ourselves by placing more importance on the things we actually regard as lower and less importance on what we truly regard as higher. This is why maintaining perspective is so important. We have to constantly remember what we truly value and truly want to achieve in life so that we can stop doing the things that cause us to walk away from our true destiny.