Attached to Attachment
July was a glorious month. It felt like a dream: every morning, I would wake to a beautiful, hot, sunny day. And then August started creeping in, much too soon, I felt, and the slant of the morning light started shifting, as if to announce that the days were indeed getting shorter, and it wasn't just my imagination. And then it tugged at me: my attachment to our short summer. I was torn out of my immediate enjoyment of this blissful time of year and hurled into worrying about its end. My attachment to this perfect month of July had begun sullying my experience of August, impeding my ability to revel in the subtle beauty of a seasonal shift; one that is inevitable, unstoppable, and as sure a thing as taxes and death.
I'm sure you've heard it before: attachment causes suffering. As soon as we latch on to anything: a person, place, experience, belief, material thing - we suffer because instead of enjoying it in the moment, we're consumed with its potential loss. We even attach to the idea of our mortal selves, to these bodies of flesh, bone and blood - as temporary as a Hollywood marriage - and yet we remain consumed with and afraid of our own death, while our life slips by.
Attachment also keeps us enslaved to specific ideologies and outdated beliefs; it keeps us caged in; each metal bar a metaphor of our own unbending perceptions. As yoga practitioners, we get attached to certain teachers, lineages and styles of practice. And although dedication to a practice that speaks to us is perfectly healthy and good, beware of becoming attached to said practice, and beginning to believe it is the "only" practice that matters or is of any value.
If you're a hard core Power Yoga practitioner, try out a Yin or Restorative class. If you're afraid of the sound of your own voice, go to a Kundalini class and do some chanting. Step out of your comfort zone and dip your toe in the pool of the new and unfamiliar. Remain flexible and open to ideas and practices that differ from your own.
In this way, we remind ourselves to remain open, in a larger sense, to different people, cultures, experiences, and become an example of tolerance in a world steeped in attachment to racism, hatred, intolerance, and patriotism gone dangerously wild.
I'm sure you've often heard the adage "go with the flow" and chalked it up to some outdated hippie crap. I figure if it's persisted this long, there's probably some truth to it. Attachment is a form of resistance to life itself, to its ever-changing and temporary nature. We're trapped in the illusion of permanency while all around us, evidence of life's ephemeral nature is plentiful.
Going with the flow is actually quite a radical idea, taken in its truest sense. If we weren't so attached to money or dogmatic religious doctrines, I'm guessing there would be a lot less violence, wealth disparity, discrimination and classism in the world. Non-attachment means trusting that we are a part of something larger than ourselves that we cannot possibly fathom, and being ok with that. It means trusting the intelligence of the Universe and relinquishing control. It means giving up the idea, held so dear, that we are the centre of said Universe.
Non-attachment is freedom from suffering. It is the ability to smile at the sight of that first golden leaf, amid the lush green of August, hinting at the imminent arrival of change.