This blog-post is inspired by an interior design project I was
doing this weekend. Currently I am living a 20-square meter room, in a two-bedroom apartment I share with a friend. I have been staying here on and off for a few years, and when I first moved here, I made a lot of temporary decisions with the furniture. To make more space and organize my life a little I decided to get a new bed with storage underneath. I had one of my dearest friends over to help me building the bed (Ikea-bed…) and it was such a fun project! Anyway - Since I was moving around in my room I decided to get rid of stuff as well. Mainly cloths.
I like to see myself as a minimalistic type of person. Not attached to material goods. But funny enough, that’s not the truth. At least not fully.
The past 8-9 years I’ve been living a nomadic lifestyle. Moving back and forward between home village and Copenhagen – Travelling between Copenhagen and the rest of the world. I have travelled more than 30 countries, stayed in them for longer times and often thought I never would return to Denmark.
I have lived in a backpack for 10 months in a row. So someway detached to material goods I am.
I got so overwhelmed when I looked at all my clothes, and took the cloth I had at the attic. First, it’s crazy how much clothes I have collected over the past years. I have been giving stuff away for charity before, and got rid of cloth I couldn’t use anymore. Second, it was really eye opening when I got to realize how attached I am to it, and why I haven’t got rid of some of it. (We are talking WAY, WAY too much clothes – some of it I haven’t used for 5 or 6 years…) Simone, my dear friend who helped me with the bed, also helped me with the clothes issue. We went over my clothes piece by piece. And when said I was not sure, if I wanted to get rid of a piece, she very cleverly asked me; Why? And my answers were surprising to me. It got nothing to do with the piece of cloth. Rather the story behind it. I started to tell her, who I got that piece from or where I got it. To my own big surprising I realized I am afraid of hurting people or forgetting a memory. If I got a piece of someone, or my mum has been giving me money to buy something – I have a really hard time getting rid of it, even though it’s just collecting dust and I haven’t used it for so many years. A lot of my clothes is bought outside of Denmark, so a lot of travel memories came up.
It was a deep process to sort out my clothes. Full of memory. I felt like each piece were caring a story.
BUT .. I ended up giving 5 BIG bags away for charity! And what a relieve. Somehow everything else feels a bit lighter now.
I have often been confronted with different forms of attachments, and how I am being forced to detach myself from them.
Why do we need to practice non-attachment?
Aparigraha is the fifth yamas of Patanjali’s Eight Limbs Path of Yoga. It can be translated to non-greed, non-possessiveness and non-attachment. The Yamas are moral guidelines to our relationship with ourselves, others and the world around us.
Why is non-attachment so important on the journey towards samadhi? Well, it is said “Attachment leads to suffering, Detachment leads to freedom”. This is not only when it comes to material stuff, but also in with habits, relationships etc.
Often detachment is misunderstood. People understand it as complete distance to material things, relationships, emotions. But that not how it should be understood. As a human being there will always arise emotion; frustration, happiness, anger, sorrow. Even the greatest spiritual teachers cry, smile, laugh. They allow emotions to rise and dissolve. They don’t feed the emotions. They have perspective.
When we can detach ourselves a little, expectations no longer rule our lives. We will have a clarity of mind, so we are able to see through the truth. We will enjoy the present, instead on constantly change after happiness. We can let life unfold without the need of controlling everything.
Being on the path of detachment.
Detachment has been a theme in my life for many years. And it’s (apparently) still something I am learning. Small step at the time I am learning to step slightly back, let go and trust – and it’s such a beautiful (and at times, tough) practice.
Are there any areas of your life, where you need to practice detachment? PS. I got really satisfied about the result of my little cave.What do you think?