The theme of “letting go” has been popping up in my life a lot the last few weeks: themes of yoga classes, and life lessons. I had a big experience of letting go this morning, with my middle child heading on the bus for her first day of Kindergarten. My oldest daughter’s first day, I was excited and felt comfortable with going to class, and she was excited too. But, Elise, my middle child, I feel differently. See, she’s been in developmental preschool for 3 years, dealing with autism. Over the summer I feel she has regressed so much, I don’t feel as if she is ready for Kindergarten. She didn’t want to go either. I held her yesterday with tears in my eyes knowing she was going to be a big girl today, and hoped that she could make friends and be understood.
The Yoga Sutras teach us that we need to practice non-attatchement, or the art of letting go. In the Sutras, raga- or attachment- is mentioned many times. Patanajali explains it is vital to practice non-attachment, in order to grow and thrive. Whole Life Yoga says “Not too many people argue with the fact that being attached to money or possessions can cause suffering. But this whole idea of being non-attached to people, ideals, or outcomes? Well, that seems to be tougher. The prevailing question is always the same: How can I be non-attached without becoming detached?
Personally, I don’t see the problem; the two concepts are completely different. Non-attachment implies being of this world, but not caught up in it. Detachment, on the other hand implies withdrawing from the world, either in an effort to avoid its complications or because we simply don’t care.
When we are non-attached, we practice; we love; we help others. And we work to leave our best mark in the world. But we do so knowing that the outcome may be different than we envision, and we are OK with that. We’re not tied up in the specific result.”
Being attached to material objects, or money, is a lesson we all need to learn. Being attached to people is a different concept. We need to know that we don’t need to be attached but can still care, love and help those around us. We don’t need to be detached to practice non-attachment, but we need to allow those in our lives to fly with freedom and learn their life lessons without our over-involvement. I needed to lesson today to allow Elise to go to Kindergarten without my over-involvement, allow her to fly free and experience her new world for herself. Trusting in her that she can handle herself, and I know she can.
Knowing the difference between non-attachment and detachment is vital. Not allowing the practice of non-attachment to consume us to the point that nothing matters, and we have no feelings or emotional bonds towards others (or even things), but knowing that we cannot always control people, or outcomes. Walking that healthy line, and allowing things to be as they are without always controlling, but still loving and caring with healthy boundaries.
In what ways are you practicing non-attachment in your life? What is your hardest lesson?