He who binds to himself a joy Does the winged life destroy; But he who kisses the joy as it flies Lives in eternity's sun rise.
Happy New Year! It's the 20th of January today and depending on how you look at it, we might be well into 2013 or just beginning. Either way, I'm wishing you nothing but health and happiness!
For Christmas this year, my man and I got a beautiful furry baby (as pictured) and we have been busy since that day adjusting to much more than we thought, but loving every minute of it! His name is Tetley.
Tetley has brought joy and laughter to our lives in only a way a puppy can: he's funny, clumsy, sloppy and loves us unconditionally. I've learned so much from our new family member already and one lesson that I came to ponder on today is what's referred to in yoga as, non-attachment.
After day three with Tetley, I started to feel the ol' tug at the deep rooted heartstrings. Those strings that would hurt a little if he were no longer in our lives and now on day twenty-something it would be a ridiculously big heart break. How do I know this? Well, I do things like risk injury to save him from falling into an ice fishing hole, take my layers off in minus-10 degrees to keep him warm, cry when I see him playing contently with his stuffed little dog, and wake up every hour on the hour through the night to take him outside when he's got the runs...and I'm sick.
In yoga we often discuss and practice non-attachment or as it's termed in Sanskrit "Vairagya." In a yoga class it's a practice of not becoming attached to postures or the results of the practice. In real life it's a practice of not becoming attached to things, relationships, situations, and feelings. According to Yogic philosophy, attachment is "what draws us away from freedom and connection to Self" and when we are connected to Self we are less likely to give into materialism, and be more accepting of the highs and lows of our life.
I've always understood this concept in the context of a yoga practice and the materialism part of life, but where I've struggled is with the relationships and feelings part. Why would I want to detach myself from a relationship with a dear friend? or a lover? or my sweet canine companion? Yes, it would hurt less if and when I experienced a loss of the relationship, but I would also miss out on the beautiful emotions that come with it?
While I've gone on to explore this concept, I have come to one conclusion, when we detach from permanence and respect impermanence, we begin to appreciate that, which is right now. So when I'm playing with furry baby Tetley I have a deep appreciation that he won't be a puppy forever and he won't be in my life forever- everything changes. This can make me sad, but it also makes me happy that he's here- right now. There are different ways to explore non-attachment, and from this, we can find love in every beautiful moment and we can begin to weather the storms of life a little easier, because this too shall pass.
Jana Roy RHN, RYT
Below is another exploration on the concept by an amazing teacher and author- Michael Stone. Enjoy!