“Sometimes we find that we like our thoughts so much that we don’t want to let them go.” ~ Pema Chodron
We have often heard, that to love something, we must set it free. Supporting the philosophical view that attachment is the root cause of disappointment, sadness, anger, and illusion, among many other things.
I have been a long time practitioner in the art of detachment, known otherwise as the art of withdrawing desire from lesser things. Those other things are referring to the material cravings and objects which keep us rooted firmly into this earth, much like the trees in our own backyards.
Most of my classes start with the simple request for students to hang their baggage up outside the room, leaving that which no longer serves them in order to be fully present in their yoga. Often it’s a temporary ‘hold’ during the allocated hour, or so, of an asana practice before picking up those same, heavy bags and plodding off, out into the material world again.
Hey, I’m not judging. I said I practice the art of detachment, I never said I’ve mastered it! And just when I think I’ve made progress, the universe never fails to drop me a reminder that I still have a long way to go yet.
This time around, it’s come in the form of a person, and straight off the back of a truthful, heartfelt post about what it’s really like to be 35, female, single, childless and yet, still happy (go back a couple of posts, you can’t miss it!).
I finally swallowed my fear and opened up, speaking freely about the fact that you can live a happy life, making your own rules (while living a life according to positive ethical and moral standards), and it doesn’t have to revolve around another person, a love, a child, a house, a settlement, your career, etc.
I stand by my post. I don’t believe I said anything ‘wrong’, hurtful or judgemental about the way others live. I respect other people’s choices to live their lives in whichever way they choose and I still love my life, I know I always will.
However, ironically, only days later, someone stepped into my life who inadvertently distracted me, and who I immediately wanted to do absolutely anything and everything for.
Note to Universe: Very funny.
The art of detachment. Does this apply to people?
I can understand not having to need someone, because we should be able to stand strong on our own two feet, fight the good fight with light, love and compassion. We’ll never really know when the person we’ve relied so heavily on over the years might disappear, perhaps through death or some other means.
And then what? What will you do? Break down? Panic? Completely fall apart…
I have learnt this lesson already. Through my ups and downs in relationships and of course, also through the loss of loved ones. But, what if knowing what you know about attachment, you still choose to want someone in your life?
Is this still attachment?
I would say you’re treading the line and it’s going to hurt like hell when that line breaks and the attachment is severed, because burning is still desire. Wanting is still desire. Desire is still material attachment.
Revisiting the earlier theory however, detachment is the art of withdrawing desire from lesser things.
Does L O V E supersede this?
Surely, it has to. It’s L O V E.
Why else would we have such a beautiful thing available to us, if it weren’t there for us to enjoy, embrace and share? It reminds me of the quote:
“It is better to have loved and lost, then to never have loved at all”
For only a true believer of love knows this feeling, and even after the many heart breaks and pain we may suffer during our lifetime, I would rather experience love then give it all up to have never known how it felt. To have never experienced that time with that person. To have never smiled T H A T smile.
You know the smile I’m talking about, even the memory of it wants to make you dance and sing!
After much to and fro on the hot topic of my happy, single, childless life followed by the arrival of an individual I’m enjoying sharing my time with, here we find the even more ironic and cruel twist of fate I was discussing earlier, the imminent departure of the person that fills our heart with such joy.
The short lived affair, too short to make any requests to stay and too sweet and endearing to not shed a tear. Maybe a few. Ok, there have been many already.
Remove me from my country, take away my house, my car (to be fair, I own none of these things), all of my belongings and money… strip me bare for all the world to see. I don’t care about any of that. I arrived in this world without it, I’ll be leaving this world without it. But L O V E…
Writing this immediately after hearing the news was important for me. Thinking instantly about how upset I feel and how it all could have been avoided if I’d only maintained distance and removed all ‘crazy’ ideas of what love, might be, could be… would I be practicing the art of detachment?
I conclude no. Because while it has rocked me emotionally and upset me deeply, I would be a robot if I could not at least feel L O V E. And as I mentioned earlier, love truly does conquer all, is it not our very purpose in life to L O V E?
And I am no robot, I am a human be-ing, I choose to be here, present, in this moment, flesh and bone and all the rest that comes with a biological body. And in this be-ing resides a beautiful soul, a soul who’s purpose is to love, whose purpose is to give and whose purpose is to live this life, through loss and hardship, the joy and laughter, pains and tears, I am still here and I still love.
Yes, these are only my words, musings from a place deep within shared with the many friends, family and strangers who choose to glance upon this post.
Writing an article, especially on a topic that is so personal may appear foolish, but if it reminds only one person of the power within to love and appreciate another unconditionally and with full acceptance, then my simple words have meaning. They speak truth and they come from a place deep within, filled to the brim with L O V E.
I will miss you.
P.S. Perhaps the title for this post should have been ‘Love’ but with all due respect, I’m not sure I could ever do the meaning behind it any justice through my words alone.