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Practicing Non-Attachment

IMG_8823It’s hard not to get attached.  My children were born in this house.  We celebrated great grades and promotions in this house.  We gathered and fed wonderful people in this house.  Our family grew in this house.  Our marriage evolved in this house.  We experienced everything from shortage to abundance, grief to joy, seriousness to silliness, sickness to health, and stillness to activity.

We are selling the house we’ve lived in for 17 years.  It’s a good thing.  We found a new house, not far away that will be a great fit for us.  But, leaving this one won’t be easy.

When you get ready to sell your house, there’s a lot of preparation: cleaning, de-cluttering, and touching up paint.  Through the process you develop a really heightened sense of what are its assets.  All of the things you’ve come to love about the space are in clear view.  Then, you hope that potential buyers will walk through and see things as you do.  It’s really easy to get overly attached to your home.

It’s a perfect time to practice the yoga concept of non-attachment.

This is a recurring theme of yogic teachings.  The sutras especially touch on the concept of detachment and auxiliary ideas.

Sutra 1.12:  The mind can reach a state of Yoga through practice and detachment.  -Heart of Yoga, pg. 153. 

Sutra 1.13:  Practice is basically the correct effort required to move toward, reach, and maintain the state of Yoga. (Yoga is the ability to direct the mind exclusively toward an object and sustain that direction without any distractions.)  -Heart of Yoga, pg. 149 & 153. 

Sutra 1.16  When an individual has achieved complete understanding of his true self, he will no longer be disturbed by the distracting influences within and around him.  -Heart of Yoga, pg. 154. 

Sutra 2.37:  (asteya) One who is trustworthy, because he does not covet what belongs to others, naturally has everyone’s confidence and everything is shared with him, however precious it might be. – Heart of Yoga, pg. 178.

Sutra 2.39: (aparigraha) One who is not greedy is secure.  He has time to think deeply.  His understanding of himself is complete.  -Heart of Yoga, pg. 178.

Sutra 2:42 (santoṣa) The result of contentment is total happiness.  -Heart of Yoga, pg. 179.

The state of yoga has many interpretations:  union with divine, experience of  truest self, or the ability to focus completely.  Attachment, or over dependence on an object or ideal makes it difficult to achieve a state of yoga.  Coveting, greed, and discontentment can create attachment or make it difficult to let go.

How we see this home is not important now.  It has done its job for us.  The new family can be imprinted by it and can define it.  As we find our new path, holding onto our perceptions does nothing to help us move forward. Letting go will bring peace with what we have and with what is.

This house has been part of our journey, it has made an impact on us, but it does not define our family.  What we love and value will not be the same for the next owners.

We will let go of this house.  We will leave these walls and doors better than we found them.  I’m not talking about home improvements.  I’m talking about the life and love that my family has shared over the last 17 years.  Like incense burning over time it leaves a trace of a sweet smell, it infuses into the floors and walls.  I hope the new family will be able to feel and absorb the energy we’ve left behind and make it their own home, sweet, home.  But, fair warning, it’s hard not to get attached.

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