It was nearing the end of my trip to India when I realized that my favorite wrap was missing.
"Where could it be?" I thought.
It could have been anywhere at that point. I had traveled on two airplanes, multiple cars, and stayed at 3 different locations. I searched everywhere and traced back all of my steps -- but no wrap.
This wasn't just any wrap, this was my favorite, new wrap-- 100% Turkish cotton that I purchased just last summer in London at the Portobello Road Market. If you know the market then you know what cool items are there. It was so yummy and comforting.
Of all the items to lose on my trip, "why my favorite item??" I would rather have lost anything else, even some of my new purchases from India.
Think I may have been a little too attached to my scarf?
Everyone on the retreat kept saying to me, "let it go Angela. You'll get another scarf -- an even better one." But I felt my younger self come out, I wanted that scarf. Other scarves were gifted to me during my stay in India, but I still wanted my scarf. And I had given away clothes during my stay in India, so why did I have to lose something?
Though I was bummed for a day or so, I soon realized I was being utterly ridiculous. I had just experienced the most profound and beautiful trip of my life in India, receiving gift after gift after gift and having the most powerful and beautiful exchanges of love with people from all over the world. So, why was I still bemoaning about my missing scarf?
Because I was attached to it. Too attached. I attached entirely too much to this scarf. And after all, it was just a scarf. So, of course I would lose that scarf!
The Universe gifted me a powerful lesson through this scarf -- non-attachment,also known as detachment in Buddhism. Not only was it a further reminder for me to practice non-attachment, but it also revealed to me, that as much as I've grown spiritually, I am still attached to some material possessions.
The practice of non-attachment in Buddhism, according to Wikipedia, is a state at which a person overcomes his or her attachment to desire for things, people or concepts of the world and thus attains a heightened perspective.
Practicing non-attachment isn't easy. It's an ongoing practice. How many of you can relate?
How many of you have been attached to a person, a pet, or another loved one? A job? Your success? Money? A favorite clothing item? An outcome? A relationship? A goal?
Life is filled with things to attach ourselves to. The question then becomes, can we move through life with opened hearts and compassion, without being attached to our own expectations? It's a challenging one.
Human suffering is caused most by our attachment -- in our desires to be in control of people, situations and outcomes.
The practice of non-attachment is a steady and ongoing practice. One that we can choose to practice consciously.
When we embrace non-attachment we:
Are not ruled by our own expectations.
Are able to see the world as it is rather than imposing our thoughts and feelings onto it.
Are able to feel our feelings but process our emotions in a healthy, unattached way.
Experience more joy and peace even through life's challenges.
Don't predicate our happiness on material things, titles, or relationships.
Appreciate personal freedom and inner fulfillment that's not found in life's ephemeral experiences or possessions.
A couple of simple practices to embrace non-attachment:
We can begin by including the Will of Spirit in our prayers and meditations. In order to manifest the Universe's greatest purpose for our lives, we must align our minds and hearts with openness. Our hearts need to align with Spirit's Will for our lives, not our own will. Sometimes we attach so much to our own outcome that we may miss the Universe's. We have something else in mind as to what our blessing should look like. Or sometimes we may force an outcome because we are so passionately attached to our outcome, which can lead to disaster, right?!
Practice giving away things that you covet. If it's money, give more money away. If it's clothes, donate clothes to someone in need, etc. If you have an item that you're very attached to, see if you can gift it away or loan it to someone for awhile.
Practice greater flexibility and spontaneity. Try not to fixate yourself on experiences and outcomes. Go along for the ride. Life can be much more fun and interesting that way.
We're all works in progress. We can practice non-attachment the same way in which we practice everything else. Don't beat yourself up or judge yourself. Practice compassion and non-judgment.
I'm here to help and serve you. I'd love to hear your thoughts about this message and your personal experiences with non-attachment. Click here to share your thoughts with me.