Home Discussion Forum Is indifference, as in apathy, a prerequisite to spiritual awakening?

Is indifference, as in apathy, a prerequisite to spiritual awakening?

Realizing desire is one of the binding aspects of ego attachment and in that the awakened state is free of the influence of ego karmic repercussions, how can one reconcile compassion with indifference?
I am dealing with this at a critical time in this spiritual journey. I give no thumbs down but expect my commentary on what I don’t understand.
Thank you in advance for all your help.
I always appreciate your answers and learn much from them. Sometimes they lead to more unanswered questions…which is good.
I see compassion as a half note above love but have its roots in it. Love has a need and an identity in it whereas compassion is for others which fulfill a desire also. Indifference has neither. To repeatedly create karma in the name of desire seems not conducive to a non ego state wherein an action-less action takes place. Karma knows not good or bad it only responds in kind in constant creation. When no one is at home repercussions have not a place to go.
Zsolt H,
Misunderstanding certainly does runs deep concerning ego desire and the purpose in life. You are right we should not try to kill or suppress an ego when we need to recognize it as only an idea so it can drop on its own accord. Constant observation is a beginning. The trick is to observe without desire. As the enlightened Buddha said, “desire is the cause of all suffering”. It makes no difference if its desire for God or desire for love, desire is desire! Maharishi Mahesh yogi said, “Mankind’s inability to fulfill their desires creates suffering”. He also went on to say one purpose of life is the expansion of happiness.
Cosmic Kiss,
Thank you so very much for your time and effort offering such a beautiful point of view and advice. I find it quite pleasant but very exoteric. My attention and interest is more of an esoteric nature. How do you obtain Divine Indifference when separation exists between the ego personality and the divine? It sounds rather contradictory.
My practice of inner vision, as is with the ancient Rishi in history, explores the kingdom within. In deep meditation witnessing bodies both subtle and gross without mind identity is quite fundamental. Awareness in consciousness reveals no such thing as soul. When awareness transcends the relative field of Being, consciousness is left behind and upon return to everyday conscious life, life, is found to be filled with peace, harmony and joy.
Dark Te,
Such a pleasure to hear from such an astute observer.
This natural symbiosis you speak of seems complementary when the lion pounces upon its meal of the day. In my mind, compassion is divided between the meal and the lion. (let it be) Is there a justification element when considering compassion? If so, would justification hold true when not interfering with possible karmic action by remaining indifferent? Tough path to tread.
Perhaps redressing values and bringing balance lies in being a bridge by contributing known techniques of elevating levels of consciousness. The higher they climb the further they see.
Thank you for sharing your light.


  1. The only pre-requisite to a Spiritual Awakening is for a person to be willing to beleive in a power greater than themselves.
    The best binding aspects are grains and cereals.
    The ego is attached by a person’s inability to humble themselves and to realize that Karma will get you- maybe later, maybe sooner, but it will get you.

  2. No, but compassion is a prerequisite for enlightenment.
    at best, sustained apathy will most likely lead to situations where you end up at the mercy of others and they don’t give a damn.
    have you ever been stranded at the side of a road and no one cares enough to help you out?
    (why don’t you ask what the prerequisites for awakening are?)

  3. I think this “indifference” is not a suitable word for that situation. For me the requirement should be like when all your desires confine to only one target that is to find what the truth is. So it is not about finishing the desires, it’s like winding the desire or more clearly we can say that it’s like focusing the desire and efforts only on the one and the most important target. Being desireless is also a kind of desire but a good kind of desire. creation is also the work and part of creator. So neglecting it is not the aim. Watching, appreciating and loving his craftsmanship with out any self and greed is also like worshiping and knowing him. I think giving my desires a right path is more important than killing them. Coz these hydra-head desire can’t be killed.

  4. One of the greatest misunderstandings about spirituality is that we have to suppress, or kill our egos, desires.
    We are incapable of doing so, as our desires are our very substance, we simply cannot get rid of our substance.
    We can see it in our physical life too, where people try to leave some bad habits behind, and they are incapable of doing so.
    So the desires remain, what we need to do in spirituality is to change their direction, the intention we use those desires with.
    We have to change the intention form the “for my own sake” to the “for the sake of others”.
    Spirituality is all about joy, and fulfillment, we just need to learn how to receive in order to fulfill others.
    This is the purpose of spirituality and the purpose of our life.

  5. Hi there,
    Hopefully you won’t mind if I write quite a bit in response to your query. It’s an important question and one frequently misunderstood. I prefer the term ‘divine indifference’ to differentiate what we’re striving to obtain from apathy or being indifferent to the suffering of others. Divine indifference encompasses compassion while utilizing wisdom and understanding of a bigger picture than what the personality/ego views. Apathy is not caring which is basically a selfish character flaw. Divine indifference is a selfless caring.
    Some quotes from a few different books:
    …divine indifference changes or shifts the present almost too violent emotional reactions into that calm, understanding, compassionate wisdom which – through identification with the soul of those you seek to help – inevitably aids suffering personalities.
    “The lessons of divine indifference, once mastered, release the soul to union with the One.”
    “Note the use of the word “divine,” for it holds the clue to the needed attitude. It is a different thing to the indifference of not caring, or the indifference of a psychologically developed “way of escape” from that which is not pleasant; nor is it the indifference of superiority. It is the indifference which accepts all that is offered, uses what is serviceable, learns what can be learnt but is not held back by personality reactions. It is the normal attitude of the soul or self to the not-self. It is the negation of prejudice, of all narrow preconceived ideas, of all personality tradition, influence or background. It is the process of detachment from “the world, the flesh and the devil” of which The New Testament speaks.”
    The following is a list of questions one can ask of himself as he works his way through attachments and liberates himself from the chains of personality actions and reactions. This list is also from a book.
    What constitutes a review on divine Indifference?
    Am I confusing it with dispassion, or with a refusal to suffer?
    Does it signify in my mind separation and consequent pain?
    Am I capable of seeing myself with indifference, detached emotionally from any event?
    Can I see mentally, unbiased by any reaction from the emotional personal self?
    Do I ever do this?
    If I use this review on indifference as it should be used, that will be the effect in my life?
    How would this affect the group in which I seek to work?
    Would this effect be desirable, and do I desire it?
    Is this review a scientific method of achieving indifference?
    Have I ever worked in such a scientific way to achieve this quality of discipleship?
    Do I feel it a desirable thing to try out now?
    Can I be indifferent in a divine way whilst using it?
    What are the reasons for any belief that divine indifference is the way for me to tread today?
    What basis for this do I find in my reading and my studies?
    Does my soul lie behind this urge or pressure towards indifference which is brought to bear upon me?
    Would indifference intensify my capacity for increased usefulness in service?
    In what way?
    How does it help my progress on the path?
    If it is true that the blind must advance by touching, by keeping attached, and by keeping hold; but that those with sight, by seeing and by keeping free and unattached; why then, having sight, do I close my eyes and hold on and feel my way instead of seeing it?
    Is the mind the organ of vision for the spiritual man? If so,
    Is my mind an organ of vision?
    Can I hold my mind “steady in the light” and see life truly and free from any blinding attachments?
    As I review this day, what part has divine indifference played in it?
    Have I spoken from the angle of a divinely indifferent viewpoint?
    Have I practiced an indifferent attitude to myself when circumstances arose which threatened my emotional poise?
    We are told that self-realization is our immediate goal; in view of this, what do I know about:
    The indifference of the soul or self to the fragmentary self?
    The illusion of identification of that self with the little self?
    Again we are told that there is an archetype, a pattern, a way, a goal, a light upon the Path.
    Which of these words expresses my personal objective and why?
    How far is the archetypal pattern reflected in my life?
    What attachments prevent its full expression?
    I am the redeemer of my lower nature. Therefore:
    How much part does divine indifference play in this redemption process?
    In which of my three aspects – physical, emotional or mental – is it felt the most?
    Does redeeming force play through me to others?
    My nature in truth is love.
    How can this truly manifest and yet with indifference?
    Through which body do I most easily express this love?
    To what am I the most attached and how can I deal with it?
    What attitude and qualities will have to be developed in me if I am rightly to practice indifference?
    What is the objective of such a practice? Can I

  6. The truly commpassionate are indeed less likely to act I have found an impasse here too. I beleive that having the compasion to leave the fever and fret of the desirous modern life, that one feel essentially does not concern you, well alone, is pure and beautiful
    and it must be noted to ‘let it be’ is not pure apathy though it is a natural symbiosis with the world around you.
    I see a vast amount of problem from the effect of those who do not ‘let it be’. If the path of pure compassion had been the way of all things for time immemorial we wouild have no problem but it has not been and grasping materialistic desires of a capaitalist social outlook cause the fever fret and worry of this world and there is a massive imbalance there that needs redressing and all the ‘let it be’ symsbiotic living in the world is never giong to redress that balance all the leading by pure example is never going to turn that tidal wave around and i think you and I and those like us who see where we are and see where we could be have a cute littel ready oportunity to lay down better patterns of value – to play a part in redressing that balance – to be a bridge between the two sets of values – to attempt to reconcile the irreconcilable… and that why it sticks hard with us thats why the warning bells are ringing at this impasse in the spiritual journey our duty towards both our fellow men who cannot see well and our duty towards ‘the path’ conflict with each other
    I am eternally torn between the ease of leading by pure example and waht i feelis my duty as a soul between worlds – getting my hands dirty in the worry fever and fret of grasping desires to bring those who can’t even define the problem to a higher understanding.
    my metaphsical outlook allows me to see, more clearly than is standard, what went worng and what is worng in the constructon of our social fabric and that is a quality that those on a true path could not possess.
    call it tought luck being this awake, call it inspired, but the problme you see is actually part of our intrinsic duty to improve the quality of this world that we are a product of. our duty to enmesh the best of both patterns to take the first steps on long term path towards a better modern symbiosis.

  7. Observation within silence without the activity of perception is the only prerequisite to an awaken state. The sleepwalker sees the world of duality and separates from it. Seeing the opposites in all of their experiences such as up down, love hate, positive negative they react to their environment with hast of thinking. I am here and creation is there. Much must be understood.
    Mind is emptiness until a light wave or object of perception manifests as thoughts. Thought and mind become one and the same. The identity of the self that is clothed in the mind creates experience. Experience alone overshadows the true nature of the mind. Like when the whiteness of a screen is covered by an image from the light passing through a film in a projector. Our true nature is lost in the object of experience. We have a hundred dollar gain and a million dollar loss.
    The universal consciousness that exist in all subatomic matter is the same consciousness in the waves enabling perception of images. We literally live in a sea of consciousness. As a statue exists in a lump of clay the object exist in the subject. But when this image is shaped but rejected and separated from the subject, than consciousness is left without potentel objectivity. This is the roots of the false ego. When one realizes this objectivity cease and all notions of the world changes. I you, love hate, compassion indifference are seen as an allusion. This is the meaning of awakening; this is called enlightenment. One realizes only Source is and everything else is play.


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