Last week we looked at non-attachment, vairagya, through the lens of no expectations: if there is no expectation, if we are open to a given moment, to a specific person, to a certain relationship, each as they are and without attempting to force what is not, we can more easily see what we would otherwise miss – beauty or beast.
Dense and multi-dimensional, I thought vairagya, non-attachment, worthy of another week’s exploration.
While an approach to non-attachment suggests the removal of expectations, the essence of non-attachment lays within the acknowledgement that life is filled with impermanence. Whether our bodies, relationships, jobs and careers, possessions, or the stars in the sky - everything is impermanent.
What feelings or thoughts, if any, does that elicit for you? Does it trigger a particular response in your mind or reaction in your body? For me, as I write and consider the impermanence of that which is most dear in my life, I clam up, I close up… because I am attached.
However the truth is, that nothing ever remains the same and forever fixed in place. Our bodies are in a perpetual state of transition. We may be unable to see the microscopic tick of these cellular transformations, but it is a constant—seven years from today, not one cell in your body will remain the same. At times our bodies grow stronger; other times weaker (and with work, they grow stronger yet again). Our cars or favorite objects of affection change due to use and age while our relationships experience journeys and metamorphoses with each interaction. We, as individual beings, continue to evolve.
In the moments when I allow that nothing will forever remain the same, a level of non-attachment and acceptance gently surfaces. Without doubt, there is often an underlying feeling of “oh-shit.” However, when I can see that “oh-shit” for what it is, I know it is fear. And when I move past that fear, I am gifted an immense awareness – and a profound sense of gratitude.
Once this acceptance seeps in, I can see more clearly. Colors become brighter; missing details appear, as if by magic. In truth, I am seeing that person, situation or relationship for the first time with new eyes – and through a new lens.
Simultaneously, that underlying notion that impermanence is synonymous with deterioration or loss is released. I realize that if nothing stays the same, anything can occur: promotion, a new exciting journey, a more evolved meaningful relationship in place of what does not work...anything.
In reflecting back at the last year and a half, a bulk of my life has changed. My schedule has shifted and molded more times than I can count, each time making way for more. The relationships around me have morphed and certain friendships have forged new bonds and depths. My perspectives on what I want continue to evolve. If I had (and there are times I did) grasp tight to the way things were, that would only cause angst and fruitless resistance. Where I stand now, my life is more full and my relationships are more beautiful than I would otherwise envision.
So whether through the lens of impermanence or through the lens of no expectations are you willing to play with non-attachment? What can it offer you?
Ralph Waldo Emerson stated, “life is a journey, not a destination.” Are you willing to be open to every moment of that journey, knowing and accepting that no two moments are ever the same?
With immense gratitude for all I hold dear in my life, with gratitude for the reminder of impermanence, and with complete gratitude for you,
Love and light,
Rachel (to receive these weekly, subscribe below!)