Let go of what doesn’t matter and discover what does, writes Lush Life columnist, Mahesh Hayward
Today I visited a very small gym to take part in a yoga class that had been recommended to me. This, in itself, isn’t unusual (you may know I’m training to become a yoga teacher myself) but the strange thing is that this is the last-ever class in this building as Images Health and Fitness Club in Poole, Dorset (also the home of Lush) is closing for good.
It’s strange because I’ve just changed my working hours in the barber shop to do more writing, film-making and yoga and so when I do (finally) go along to a recommended class I discover the building is about to be being pulled down: I do hope this won’t become a trend for companies I visit for the first time, I won’t be allowed in anywhere or be able to visit new places.
My friend told me about this class, so I went along; to be honest the place did look rather shabby and the whole building looked like it had been there since the Stone Age. But the people were lovely. As I walked into the room I overheard two women were talking as if they had lost a loved one in the family, and as it turned out, that’s what the whole class felt.
This was indeed the last yoga class before the building was to be pulled down and replaced by residential flats. This - as you know- isn’t a new story, but it was a sad day for everyone who had been coming along for years.
I showed empathy with the group, but also felt a little bit concerned about the attachment I was witnessing with this collective of mainly older women. Part of me wanted to console them and tell them it will all be ok, and part of me wanted to say that the yoga they practice is the important thing, not the building where they meet. People make a yoga group what it is, not the walls around them. Luckily my “don’t say anything” filter kicked in and I didn’t have seven retired ladies’ beating me up with rolled up yoga mats.
The point of this not-really-so-tragic story is about how we become attached to objects around us and find it hard to grasp the impermanence of everything in our lives.
I have experienced and felt the loss of loved ones, pets and even my very first car, but the idea that things will be in our lives forever is only setting ourselves up for a fall. So, my question is can we live a happy life without the constraints of attachment, or more importantly does attachment makes us think we have something to live for?
I’ve covered the topic of consumerism in some of my earlier columns, so this isn’t just about our attachment to material and inanimate objects such as our phones, laptops, cars etc. but also the buildings we live and work in. Do we become attached to things that give us a sense of who we are and what we stand for such as schools and religious buildings?
The Buddha said “The root of suffering is attachment” or if that isn’t your bag then, Yoda said “Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.”
These two enlightened souls were here to give us the message that what we arrive in the world with is all we need to find peace and happiness.
You don’t need to join a Monastery or become a Jedi to understand the simple message that we, as humans, are peaceful, loving and kind beings and need only these attributes to make us content and happy. You can only ‘lose’ the things that you cling to; in other words see things for what they really are - your phone, for example, is a device for communication not a lifeline; your car is a form of transportation not an extension of your personality.
It’s easier to let go of our desire when we see things as tools to help us in life rather than the component pieces of life itself; maybe a building you grew up in or the church your parents married in will be harder to let go of, but it’s people who make those fond memories, not the buildings.
Now, I said that the people in our lives and the ones we love are the ones that make a venue the place it is, and this is true, but the attachment now moves towards the souls in our lives. We become mixed up with love and how we let or rely on others to make us happy. The attention of love needs to be within first, we need to learn to love who we are before we TRULY love another.
“Try not to confuse attachment with love. Attachment is about fear and dependency and has more to do with love of self than love of another. Love without attachment is the purest love because it isn’t about what others can give you because you’re empty. It’s about what you can give others because you’re already full.” says the Huffington Post writer and author of Reclaim Your Heart, Yasmin Mogahed, who specialises in talking about and writing on breaking free from the ties that hold you back in life.
I really have come to understand that I love my children, but I don’t own them; I love my wife, but she is an independent person; I love my siblings and family, but that love comes with non-judgement. And when you first feel love for who you are, then there is only a boundless and eternal love for everything and everyone around you.
As we step into Spring and we marvel at the beauty of Nature, turn your attention towards yourself; marvel at who you are and share that love with yourself. Be at one with the world around you, and then you will find that you are no longer in need of things, just happy they are there for the time you have them.
Please go well my friends and share the kindness and love that is in all of us.
Until next time.
Mahesh Hayward is a regular Lush Life columnist, writing about the challenges of Modern Living