My husband and I recently had an argument; the type of spousal quarrel that likely only makes sense to the two of us. The disagreement centered on our beloved kayaks that largely go unused since the birth of our children. My stance has always been to hold onto the kayaks given that it will not be long before our children will want to be using the kayaks with us; whereas my husband wants more room in the garage for the extra bikes, scooters and skiing equipment we seem to have accumulated in the last few years. Like so many arguments we are firm in our opinions and it can be hard not to mistake the other’s point.
As I walked away from our most recent disagreement, I took a moment to try to understand why I was so attached to these kayaks, especially given how long it has been since we last used them. For me, the kayaks hold wonderful memories; memories my husband and I built long before we started a family and instead were just beginning to understand who each other were and how we would build our lives together for years to come.
Yet, as I thought through our discussion I couldn’t help but come back to the concept of non-attachment. In Sanskrit, vairagya translates to mean non-attachment; “vi” meaning without and “raga” meaning color, coming together to mean “colorless”. The idea of non-attachment allows us to find an inner stillness; since it takes away the pain and pleasure certain objects can cause us when we feel connected to them. Practicing non-attachment frees us from avoidable unhappiness.
Could I be afraid letting the kayaks go represents the erasing of the memories they created for us? After reflecting on all of this I *reluctantly* am beginning to shed a new light on my perspective. Perhaps the answer is not erasing the memories, but embracing the changes that have surrounded us these last couple of years. Something has changed and I need to let that go; while likewise realizing something new has already filled that void. In my kayak example – we are no longer a family of two but instead a family of four who enjoys bike rides and skiing together. Our memories are far from erasing themselves, they are in fact growing, and when I step back to recognize them the memories are growing quite rapidly; yet, not one of our recent memories involves either of the kayaks. As I grasp for that which is no longer there, I create tension in myself and with my relationship. Taking a moment to evaluate the argument, allowing myself to let go of my own desires, has left me feeling lighter and more peaceful as I recognize how my attachment is actually the source of my own irritation.
My example my seem simple, however in reality detaching ourselves from such small objects, embodies the concept of non-attachment. Turning our colored and clouded thoughts into colorless desires helps to steady the mind and strengthens our practice. Had you asked me a week ago if you could buy the kayaks I would have laughed and walked away; today, I will at least entertain the conversation!
~The divine in me salutes the divine in you, Namaste~