“The way to gain anything is to lose it.” Swami Rama Tirtha
For most of my life, companionship has mainly come from dogs. What I did not realize was my intense attachment.
Attachment is a series of thoughts flowing in a particular direction that become stronger. For example, Mary thinks of Paul. She likes him. She starts thinking more and more about him. She can’t stop thinking about him. Now, she wonders what he is doing, where he is, when she will see him next, why hasn’t he called... These smaller thoughts pile up resulting in mental disturbance, agitation and stress. Imagine the effect this would have on a relationship. The attachment effectively pushes the object of desire further away from us rather than bringing us closer. Anything our mind fixes on may lead to attachment.
Detachment does not mean a lack of caring, feeling, missing or loving. In fact, it includes all of those MINUS mental disturbance! You will live your own life - not someone else's - and be free from worry and anxiety. You gain more peace and happiness. Isn’t this what everyone wants? However, most of us live in a bubble of ignorant bliss. We remain wrapped up and bound by our attachments. Anyone want out of this cycle?
The only way out is in! Because we are NOT Self Realized we feel a void. This pressure causes thoughts to flow out towards the world so that we fill up and feel good TEMPORARILY! These thoughts manifest for worldly things that manifest further into attachment. We stop the cycle by developing our intellect.
The intellect is not our intelligence. Intellect is our voice of reason. It has the job of overseeing and guiding our perceptions and actions of our body. It also oversees feelings, impulses and preferences of our mind. Essentially, intellect is life’s steering wheel. There are two specific things we can all do right now to tune up our intellect:
Do not accept or take anything for granted.
Question everything. Do not believe anything to be true unless it is backed by sound reason and logic.
Now for the true tale: Almost four years ago, I met and fell madly in love with a man who is now my husband, David. As we dated, he did not pretend to be interested in yoga or my dogs as he was indifferent towards both! Despite his loathing of dog hair, smell and drool he suggested the dogs and I and move in to his house with his two roommates! Knowing this would be a difficult living situation, it would also be a determining factor in moving our relationship forward. It was a test run and, while it was rough, we survived. We moved into our own home shortly after, and it was a HUGE adjustment for all of us. My dogs were no longer allowed in my bed. I also made a promise to David that I would not get another dog unless that was something he wanted too. And I really meant it! Over years of developing and sharpening my intellect, I realized the value of what a person contributed to a relationship, my life and the world. This was more important than if they did yoga or wanted to live with animals! But yet, I knew that I was attached to my dogs.
Keeping up on every level, serving my husband, tending to our relationship and growing my yoga business are my priorities in life. One of my beloved boxers recently passed. Although I am saddened by the loss and still miss him, I am not overcome by emotion, upset or disturbed. This is a surprising reaction. I am happy to have Kylie, my little boxer girl, and am also prepared for when she is no longer here. I fully accept that there are no more dogs in my life. By adopting higher thoughts and actions, I have outgrown my NEED and attachment to having dogs.
The story doesn’t end there. On Mother’s Day 2018, David said, “I have a surprise for you. I got you a dog!” I actually did not believe him. I did not EVER expect that. As a complete surprise to me, he had been researching and scouting puppies! I was a little nervous to hear his selection, since he is VERY particular and not a fan of the boxer breed… He chose a blue Great Dane. Without hesitation, I said YES as this was a dream breed of mine. For David, this dog will protect me and our home. He also wanted to give me something that he knew I would love. The best part: not asking for this. Oh… and already being happy without expecting more.
When you know you already have everything you need and set higher goals, things come to you. I was happy with what I had and was not stressed or agitated by wanting another dog. Lose your lower quality desires, attachments, ego, cravings, and possessiveness. You may not gain a Great Dane, but you may gain PEACE OF MIND. That is true freedom. The Dane is icing on the cake!
Here’s to a true ‘tail’ of happiness!