No Strings Attached

It’s been about 2 years since I cancelled my landline. I remember that, while I was so completely fed up with the phone company (it doesn’t matter which one they’re all the same), I was actually fearful of cutting that cord. Even though I had my cell, I felt insecure, as if I were 2 years old and my blankie was being taken away.  This may sound foolish to those of you out there who are younger and don’t have the memory of dialing a princess phone while yelling at your sibling to get off the extension. This attachment went really deep. But then, the younger generations have their own attachments to their iphones, ipods, etc.  An attachment is an attachment.

Look around your environment and try to gauge your level of attachment to what you consider yours, what you ‘own.’ Ask yourself, “How would I feel if I lost this?”  Would you be okay without that possession (or person, or job) or would you feel diminished without it? This implies that our attachments, whether they are to things, people or jobs, fill a deep, dark hole we perceive in ourselves. Krishnamurti said, “The object of attachment offers me the means of escape from my own emptiness.” This is not to say that you can’t enjoy what you have; true detachment means you can savor those pleasures as long as you don’t rely on them to make you happy or define who you are.

I had this experience nine years ago when my apartment was broken into. I lost my laptop, camera, and lots of jewelry, including a gold charm bracelet I had since I was kid and a pink diamond that belonged to my mother. I was heartbroken. When I told my teacher what had happened, he told me how sorry he was but then he said, “I guess you had a chance to see your attachments.”  From time to time, my ego still feels the emotional pinch of what it lost, even though “I” know they don’t define who “I” am.  My ego needs its props, I don’t. What I lost wasn’t the basis for my happiness.

As I get older, I find that I really don’t need very much to live my life comfortably. My identity relies less on externals these days.  I wonder what it would be like to give up my possessions and rent a furnished apartment. I imagine taking a pair scissors and cutting the cords that tie me to my material life. There is a sense of complete freedom that descends upon my being, as the simplicity of that reality attracts me.  Imagine not being encumbered by the trappings society deems essential? You would have so much less to worry about, since the struggle of keeping what you have disappears. Sounds like a good place to be. I’m not there yet, but someday I hope to be.


2 thoughts on “No Strings Attached

  1. I thought a lot about this since I read your article the other day. There is this amazing essay EB White wrote about Henry David Thoreau. In it, he basically says something to the effect of “I totally understand where you are coming from Henry and agree with you. However, I like baseball way to much to live your kind of life.” I am in the crux of a similar problem. The physical world has some really cool stuff that I am really hooked on. I’d like to be less attached, but I really like what I am attached to. Maybe in time I will grow bored with my possessions. That is really what I am hoping for because if I had to give them up tomorrow, I’d be in one heck of a bad mood.

    The line about your ego needing it’s props was pure brilliance. I plan on stealing that line at a later date!

    1. We all go through that – not wanting to give up any of our stuff. The beauty of sadhana, though, is that it becomes a natural ‘letting go’ – nothing is forced, you just find yourself moving in that direction……

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