Attachment and Letting Go

Good Afternoon Everyone,

I’m sad to announce, that this is my last week teaching at Village Green Yoga and River Tree Yoga until June. Truly, I will miss teaching and my community. You guys bring such light to my life through your dedication, compassion and humor. But it is only a month and I will be back to my regular schedule very soon. In the interim, I have arranged for some excellent subs. So keep doing your yoga and your practice will grow from the wisdom of others.

As I prepare to spend the next month in Berkeley helping my father downsize to a small apartment in a continuing care community, I reflect on what this might mean for him, as well as for myself.

Moving is difficult for everyone. I have read that it is one of the top five stressors in life. I can’t even begin to imagine what it will be like for my father who is 95 and has lived in his current home for the majority of his adult life. He has not only lived in this house for over 50 years, he also designed it himself. It is perhaps his finest work as an architect and is truly a masterpiece of contemporary architecture. It sits on a wooded lot in the Berkeley hills with sweeping views across the San Francisco Bay. Floor to ceiling windows and doors on all sides, beautifully decorated with antiques from Europe and Asia; it is simultaneously inspiring and comforting. He is deeply attached to his home and the separation will be difficult for him. I think perhaps it is part of his identity, and so the stress of moving will be compounded by the separation from a part of his self.

I must also recognize that this is the home in which I grew up, so I am not only dealing with his loss, but I am also dealing with my own. Once he is moved, I will need to sell most of his/our belongings and let go of the security of having a place to land in the Bay Area; a place to share with family and friends, a place which I have always referred to as home. It is a home that is much loved and will be deeply missed.

And yet I am reminded of the yoga teachings concerning attachment. Our attachment to the past, to things being as they were; our attachment to the desire for things to be different from how they are now; and our attachment to material things in general can all lead to pain and suffering as well as distracting us from our ability to reside in the direct experience of the present moment. At this point I will spare you a full dissertation on all of Patanjali’s Sutras which discuss non-attachment, and only lead you in their direction.

  • Sutras I.12,I.15, I.16 – explains that through non-attachment we consciously realize that attachment can create short and long term negative effects.
  • Sutra II.3 – notes that the causes of suffering include ignorance, egoism, attachment, repulsion and  fear.
  • Sutra II.7, II.8 – suggests that attachment is the consequence of pleasure as aversion is the consequence of pain.
  • Sutra II.39 – reminds us that persevering on the path non-covetousness leads to a deeper understanding of the meaning of life.

So, as I get myself ready for this seemingly Herculean task, I will hold fast to my yoga, the practice and the principles. I will remind myself that this too shall all pass. And that this is simply another step in the trajectory of my life. I am grateful to have lived in such a lovely home, grateful that my father has lived such a long and healthy life, and grateful that I have the flexibility to be able to help him in this difficult time.

I thank you in advance for your support and understanding. I look forward to seeing many of you this week, and send you wishes for a happy May.

Shalom & Namaste

Diana Bonyhadi

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