Sunday, August 22, 2010
Gliding on Glass
One of the teachings of Eastern philosophy, and when I think about it is also prevalent in Christianity, is non-attachment to material possessions. Eastern traditions encourage us to detach from the impermanent things that bind and detract us from the more important, permanent things in life, and that also includes the non-material including, *gulp*, relationships.
I have been blessed with a reasonable amount of material possessions and while I am very grateful for a blessed life, I realize that these are all temporary and at any moment can be taken away. Because of that, I try to be careful not to build my life and identity around these things. I take care of the house, the car, the plants, the clothes, the shoes because I have them and the taking care of needs to be done. To be honest, I don't even really have a clear gauge of how to measure if I'm successful at the non-attachment or not. And to that, I tell myself that maybe sometimes, just that awareness is what counts.
I am fortunate to have a beautiful residence. I remember that a year before I signed the purchase of this house, I walked into it (it was a model home), and I immediately fell in love. It was as if the house was designed for me. But it was at a time when home prices were at an all time high and there was no way I could have afforded a home like it. At that time, all I really could do was whip out my camera, take a video of the interiors that were obviously professionally decorated, in the hopes that one day, when I could afford my own house, I could copy the style of this house.
Well, a year later, there I was, purchasing that same exact house, with all the upgrades and furnishings, at a much lower price and favorable interest rates. I still get goosebumps when I recall this story.
I have lived here for almost a year and a half now. This has been the place of such intense soul searching and aloneness for me. This place is my sanctuary. When my life has turned upside down and I was at a loss of how to deal with the catastrophe that lied before me, this place has been as warm and as safe as a womb. This is where I was slowly guided to silence and stillness where all the beautiful things and life as I know it today then started to unfold.
This is the video I took of the interiors of what will become my first house a year later
I love the house and I value my aloneness in this house. But I am challenging myself to detach myself from both. I cannot make it me nor mine, and I cannot make silence depend on my aloneness either. It was a decision that have taken prayer and intention and the right time has come. I have gotten a roommate.
I did not seek one. It just so happened that an acquaintance sold her house and had a part-time roommate (only stayed 2-3 days out of the week) that needed to relocate. I offered my house in the spring, but it did not quite work out. Last week, the same lady contacted me again and she told me that this time, she really needs a place in town yet again. It seems like this decision wasn't something I made myself. It seemed like it was what was going to happen and it did, without me hardly doing anything.
I have an ugly crack in my car's rear bumper that I have decided that I am not going to have fixed. A few weeks after I got rear-ended, I backed up into a tree in the woods. I think that was God telling me, "You didn't care about your bumper after you were rear-ended. Well, how about now?" It was interesting watching myself react to this. I have a very reliable car and it's very easy on the eyes. But that day, I had more important, fulfilling things to fix my mind on than a silly dent in my bumper. It's been a couple of weeks since and I have not lost sleep over it. It still runs the way it's supposed to, it does what it needs to do, so there's no point even considering the idea of getting both damages repaired.
And today, my part-time roommate moved her stuff. And did I mention that she has a little dog?
This non-attachment stuff is not easy, but nobody said it was going to be. At some point, we just need to see things as things, and things, as with all things, pass away or can be taken away. Our lives then need to be built around things of a more permanent nature. Every once in a while, we touch bliss and love and all that yummy goodness that in my opinion, are manifestations of God. Wouldn't it be nice if that is what we built our lives around instead?