It seems everyone in the yoga world these days is obsessed with aparigraha, or “non-attachment.” Bearded men with man-buns are selling their belongings and living out of their Westfalia vans in the name of non-attachment. Dreadlocked women decked out in organic, hemp, tie-dyed pants are investing in tiny houses that fit only themselves, their beds, and their noisy on-road scooters in an effort to ditch any lingering attachment they might be harboring.
As a full-time yoga instructor who lives in a fairly-priced condo, with a 15 year old car, and an obsession with cleaning out my closets, I ask, “Are we too attached to non-attachment?”
It seems that our bearded Westafalians and dread-headed tiny housers are as attached to their vans, tiny houses, and organic clothing as they are to their love of non-attachment. Have we transitioned from an attachment to meaningless, unnecessary physical objects to a full-blown attachment to popular expressions of non-attachment?
In our pursuit of non-attachment, we’ve convinced ourselves that it is selfish to want or desire for anything more than we currently possess. We’ve forgotten that desire is a powerful force, pointing us towards that which we value most in life.
If there is one thing that desire is not, it’s selfish or evil. We’re allowed to want more. Simply because we are living, we can desire something more. There’s no need to question whether or not your desires are worthy of your attention. Simply because they exist, they are worthy.
Let’s cut the crap. Where do we get off thinking that we can’t have what we want? What grump didn’t get what he wanted and decided that, from that day on, it would be selfish and unfair to desire? That’s the true root of injustice in our relationship to non-attachment and desire – the guilt and shame associated with simply wanting something in life.
Desire is a natural human emotion. Because you are alive, you are allowed to desire. Whether or not you feel guilty about it is entirely up to you. The choice is yours.
In our fervent pursuit of non-attachment, we have been denying ourselves our basic right to desire whatever the hell we want in life. It’s rather ironic considering we embarked upon our yogic paths because we desired something different, something more. We wanted to find ease, self-love, peace, a sense of self, a strong body, a sound mind, and so much more. Whatever it was, it was that desire that led you to yoga.
Perhaps desire is sneakily pointing us to where we were always meant to be.
I invite you to stop feeling guilt for wanting whatever it is that you want. Own it. Want it with your whole entire heart. Embrace your innate human ability to desire whatever the hell you want.
What do you think – If we ditch our attachment to non-attachment, is it possible we might be that much closer to true non-attachment?