I wish I could take credit for today’s title but those wise words come from Anna Almond, a recent 500-hour graduate. She had a lot of ups and downs (like all the participants) and finally realized she had one of two options: either continue to hold on to the car bumper praying the car would magically stop, or let go of the bumper and be okay with where she landed.
It seems this has been a common lesson circulating through my close network of friends and trainees. I, too, am enjoying (not!)
the merry-go-round of that lesson–in holding onto something that I don’t really want but not seeing another option–or worse fearing the other options.
Glance around. This is an epidemic lesson right now, one in which many are experiencing in crisis form as thousands of individuals are being thrust into the fear-laden throes of letting go and detaching.
“Oh, this economy.” Reality check: It’s not the economy, it’s the universe.
The universe is showing us what greedy, selfish, money-driven, house-obsessed, material-hoarding, pleasure-seeking individuals we are. Don’t get me wrong, money is not evil and making money is not wrong. The problem arises when we allow what money buys to define us; when we judge others by how much or how little they make; when someone loses their job and has no savings because they’ve spent every last dime overextending themselves on things they couldn’t afford in the first place.
I’ve been on that merry-go-round. There is nothing worse then the dizzying effects of bills you can’t pay, harassing phone calls, threatening legal documents, selling household goods for a fraction of what I paid for them on credit cards to cover monthly expenses, grocery shopping with coupons, hoping to not see any neighbors. Guess what? My misery came not from losing my house or losing my credit cards. My misery came from being attached to what it meant to have those THINGS.
THINGS do not cause us misery. The Yoga Sutras teach us that our suffering comes from within, from our own minds, from the attachments we put on things, people and expectations.
Thankfully (ha-ha) I find myself on a different merry-go-round from the one I described above. You might possibly think there is no worse merry-go-round than the one that threatens your job, your house and/or financial well-being. Maybe from a certain perspective that’s true. But no matter how big or small the merry-go-round is, it still goes around in a circle making me sick to my stomach.
Attachment in any form causes us misery. There is no quantifying misery. That’s like asking would you rather break your arm or your leg? And at least there’s an upside to breaking your leg or arm….it eventually heals. However unless we let go of our attachments, we cannot hope to heal the misery caused from it. Until we let go of our attachments we cannot be given the gift that comes to us when we open up to other possibilities.
With fear trembling inside her, Anna finally let go of the car’s bumper. She watched the tail lights fade and disappear as the car sped out of sight. She sat there for a long time, watching the dust settle wondering what in the heck she was going to do. Knowing she couldn’t stay in the middle of the road, she stood up, knocked the grit off her clothes and turned to take in her surroundings. Imagine her surprise when she saw she was surrounded by paradise.