In any serious spiritual practice one of the fundamental practices is that of non-attachment. In order for us to awaken from out of our habitual conditioning, we must come to realize the transitory nature of life in the physical. It is a practice to help us release our hold on the material world, whether it is a thing or a person. All is transitory and a continual flow of life and death.
I began the practice of non-attachment some years ago when I found myself deep in meditation and peeling away the layers of my proverbial onion. I found it easiest to begin with small things, such as shopping. I used to love shopping and working in corporate at the time, I was able to spend part of my hard earned money on what I termed as self-treats, for working so hard. Shopping had become my happiness pill and a way to escape an inner feeling that something wasn’t right in my world. Not only did it offer a means of escape, it also made me feel more beautiful. It wasn’t that I was attached to each new item that I bought. I was attached to the ability of being able to buy what I wanted and when I wanted. Presenting my credit card at the counter, gave me an ego feeling of pride. It was also addictive and didn’t end at the store. My attachment to the material world also had me paying for friend’s dinners, drinks and even vacations. I loved being able to treat not only myself but others as well.
During my awakening lessons with my personal Guide, I quickly became aware of this habit of mine. In fact, it was my Guide that challenged me to give up spending, as if I was to give up wine. I cringed and pouted like a four-year-old but finally submitted and accepted the lesson. I wasn’t allowed to spend any unnecessary money for a period of 3 weeks to start, which my Guide said would be enough time to break my habit. After that, I wouldn’t even want to step foot into another store.
It didn’t end there however, after my 3 week “cleanse,” I was surprised to discover that he was right. I had no desire to shop. In order to continue to let go of my world, there was another and more difficult step I had to take. I was to give up one of my favorite purchased items. I stared at him in awe when he asked me to give away one of my purses. I had a Coach bag that was one of my prized possession. He looked at the bag, then looked at me and said that I was going to give it away. I could choose to whom, but I had to let it go.
I had stared at him in disbelief. “I worked very hard for that purse.”
He smiled and said, “in order to let go of this world we must let go of our many bags without remorse. Then and only then will we be a step closer to awakening and realizing the art of non-attachment. Life is transitory, as are things. Nothing truly belongs to us. Let go and you may find that so much more will be given to you in return.
I cringed again and knew that I had to give it up. After all, it was only a purse. If I couldn’t give up a small item like that, how could I handle letting go of bigger things? That immediately made me think of losing not things but people I’ve loved.
I could understand how one can let go of a material thing, but how can we practice non-attachment when it comes to losing someone we love? I thought of my birth mom who had died of lung cancer a couple of years ago and couldn’t imagine that I would have just been able to say. She’s gone, it’s time to move on. My Guide gave me a surprising answer.
“If you truly love someone, you wouldn’t have been attached in the first place. Love knows no walls. You cannot lose someone you love. Love let’s go within a heartbeat if that is the situation it needs. In fact, if you remain unattached to death or loss, you will find that there is a warm place in your heart where that love is always residing. It’s merely a transformation and not a loss. Death is the ultimate lesson on non-attachment. If we are able to understand that those we love never really go away and know that they are in the highest expression of love, then you will transcend the ego’s feeling of loss.”
I looked at him and didn’t think it would be so easy. I still grieved over my loss but your words struck a chord. I knew she wasn’t truly gone.
My attachment to the world had just lightened and I gladly gave away my Coach bag to a friend who was overjoyed, for she had never been able to afford such a luxury. That feeling in itself was better than holding on to a purse that I only took out of my closet every now and then.
It was time to let go and know and know that love never leaves it merely transforms.
Some tips on letting go and practicing non-attachment
- Start with something small. Even if it means giving up a dinner out, or a coffee. It can be difficult to let go of things we’ve become accustomed to. But you’ll soon find that the more you practice this, the easier it becomes.
- Let go of the old and embrace the new. Once you start letting go, you may find that new things will come into your life. You’ve cleared the space for more energy to enter.
- If you’ve lost someone dear, know that they are never really gone. They have just been transformed into another form. Everything is energy.
- With any practice, keep gratitude in mind. Gratitude along with love is a powerful energy. Be grateful for all that you do have in life.
Petra Valica is a writer, spiritual seeker and awareness coach. After rigorous study with a martial art Master, she was taught the principles of the Way through meditation and eventually came to a point of stillness and peace. Petra’s goal is to help others in their quest for awakening and self empowerment. Connect with Petra on her website