As many of you already know I have decided to leave the comfort of the beautiful life I am living here to go travelling for a year.
I am self-aware of how privileged (maybe even spoilt…?) I am to be able to choose to leave a life I love for the unknown.
Yet… the urge is stronger than any voice of reason to stay.
I want to flirt with the edges of my comfort zone until they become blurry.
I want to face the discomfort of not being able to occupy my mind with plans of things I need to do.
I want to be ‘alone’ and realise that as long as I have myself I am not ‘alone’.
But more than anything else, I want to practice non-attachment (Aparigraha as per the Sutras of Patanjali).
This was an entirely new concept to me not long ago. I firmly believed that as a general rule, ‘having more’ was better.
Since I started practicing yoga I got a feeling that things could not bring me happiness (something my parents repeated to me since as long as I can remember) but there is a difference between knowing because you have been told and knowing because you feel it in your bones. So as I dove deeper into my practice, I realised how many material possessions I had accumulated and how much I relied on them to make me happy. Many of them, clothes and gadgets that I could live without but have grown accustomed to having.
As my departure approaches slowly but steadily I have decided to start preparing in order to avoid a final rush before I go.
Last week I announced to my housemates when I’d be leaving the flat (28th July) with a mix of excitement and apprehension. I love my housemates. I love our flat. And I LOVE my room… (The light, the energy. It’s my home) …in fact one of my housemate’s likes my room too… and she’s decided that she’d like to move into it when I leave
In theory, I’ll be coming back to London after my 12 months travelling, so I liked the idea of letting the room for that period and coming back to it (as if I had never left I guess…). But I know this is not possible. Even if I were to be able to take my room back, things will have changed, and I am still growing accustomed to that concept.
The truth is, I love life as it is right now, so it is tricky to imagine it any other way.
And what I’m stalling to tell, because it’s uncomfortable, is my reaction to my housemate’s decision to move into my room when I leave. Initially I was pleased. I love her and love the idea of her having my room. Yet… somewhere between that feeling and what came out of my mouth, my chest tightened and my ego intervened and I said something along the lines of ‘’I guess I no longer need to find a new tenant. Since you will be moving into my room, you need to find a tenant for your room.’’ In my heart, I knew this wasn’t right. My housemate very patiently pointed out that she would still be on the contract so it was still my responsibility to find someone.
I mumbled something about putting an ad up and leaving it to them to choose the right person. I went to bed and woke up a little tense, which is very unlike me. And there, during my morning meditation, I found stillness and I was able to observe my reaction with unexpected clarity. My ego had been threatened by my housemate’s decision. After all, it’s my room isn’t it? How dare she take my room? If I am no longer the occupier of this room then who am I, where do I belong?
But non-attachment is about feeling whole regardless of what you have. Knowing you are complete regardless of your possessions.
THIS is why I am going travelling. To let go of all the material possessions I have (a part from a few essentials I will be travelling with – not ready for nude travelling just yet haha!)
I am now able to make light hearted humour around this situation because I understand my behaviour. This is an apology to my housemate and a reminder for myself that non-attachment is not easy but it is SO worth it!
When we stop identifying with material possessions we free ourselves. As per Buddha’s teachings, attachment brings suffering. We are bound to ‘lose’ what we possess at some point or another. Even if it’s only at the end of our physical life. We can’t take any of it with us, so why hang on and resist when we could just let go and BE.
I am incredibly grateful for this lesson that has come to me before I even start to pack my bag and look forward to what is to come.