Ignatian indifference

by JordanB

I was really delighted to learn about Ignatius’ concept of indifference, as this was the first time I had come across a Christian spirituality that explicitly expresses a manner of being that is similar to the Taoist notion of wu wei.

They are similar, but different. Both aim at detachment from things that are not sturdy and will, in the end, disappoint us. From my limited understanding, Taoism seems to point toward abandonment of striving, whereas Christianity points toward fullness of striving. Ignatius, however, warns (as do other theologians) that we become easily enamoured with created things. Rather, he said, we ought to have indifference towards those things. That does not mean apathy, but it does mean detachment.The best way I can think of it is that rather than seeking to hold on to things, we accept them as gift. Rather than closing our fist around things–relationships, vocations, beliefs, statuses–we receive them with an open palm, and keep our palm open.. When we realize how we are attached to God, or how God has attached us to Her, then we have no need for so much clutching.