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Time Will Change Your Season

Non-attachment, and The Hand

Hello dear one,

Another change of seasons arrives this week with the equinox this Wednesday. It is a beautiful reminder of the dynamic nature of being a living being. All that we are, is a temporary configuration amidst a field of all possible configurations. You might rightfully ask,"How does that help me understand myself, the world, and how to live?" The answer to that question comes to us directly in the Yoga Sutras 1.12 abhyasa vairagyabhyam tannirodhah which can be roughly translated to "cultivating a continuous practice and non-attachment lead the mind to become settled."

Grounding the philosophical in the practical is at the heart of spiritual practice. Mere repetition of ideas as facts or beliefs will not carry us more deeply into our lived and embodied experience. In the modern context, especially in our current climate, non-attachment is something we could apply to all aspects of life. Ordinarily, when people speak of non-attachment, most people think it applies to material things, like fancy cars, clothes, toys, etc. The line from the Sutras above not only applies to the material sense, but also encourages us to cultivate a sense of non-attachment for our beliefs, ideas, habits, thoughts, and identifications. To understand this practice, we need to look a bit closer to the meaning of the words that are used.

In the context of the Yoga Sutras, the word vairagya can also be taken to mean dispassion. This is a term that likely does not carry the same connotation as non-attachment, and is far more accessible in understanding how to apply this practice into everyday life. We are all familiar with the idea of passion, and we're often encouraged to follow our passions, or to let them drive us to our goals. However, passion can be understood as a kind of flame that consumes whatever it touches. While it may serve us to offer some things to the flames of our passions, we can easily get burned if we are not careful. Thus the practice of cultivate dis-passion allows us to avoid getting burnt out, and helps us to stay focused on what is truly important in our lives.

Here is a practical yogic tool to practice non-attachment:


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