“I can’t live without you!”
“This is MY cup!”
“That’s MY name and I won’t change it!”
We hear or say this so often. It is so natural. We don’t even realize that we are getting ensnared into something that might stunt our growth and independence!
We speak about freedom of speech, freedom of expression….do we ever think about freedom of the soul? The aim of every soul on this earth is to free itself of its karmic debt and earthly desires. And that is what it is determined to achieve every time it enters into a human life. But as soon as the soul takes a human form, it forgets the purpose of why it has re-entered the cycle of life again! It forgets that it is here to find its way out, and not to get lost in the maze of desires all over again.
We should thank the learned masters and gurus for deciphering this knowledge and passing it on to us. For they are the ones who will show us the light. They will guide us to exercise our most important freedom- the freedom of soul.
The first step in this journey would be practicing detachment.
MY cup, MY bed, MY parents, MY wife, MY husband, MY house…..! Unknowingly, we have already attached ourselves to countless entities. And we are so attached to these that we cannot imagine a life without them. But the truth is- there indeed is a life beyond. Which we fail to live and enjoy as we get so bogged down with the fear of losing everything that we think is MINE!
As the clichéd statement goes- you got nothing while coming and will take nothing with you when you go. Even the body that you have belongs here. A soul doesn’t own anything. This is nothing new that I am trying to get across here, everyone knows this. Then why are we so attached to everything that doesn’t really belong to us?
We are attached not only to people and material possessions, but also to emotions and feelings. A soul is always neutral- neither miserable nor happy. An emotion is a reflection of one’s mind. If one’s mind is empty and free of needs and excessive attachment, it will reflect in one’s emotions and feelings as well. Wouldn’t it be blissful state if one’s mind was filled with nothing?!
One must try practicing detachment by breaking all bonds. It isn’t as overwhelming as it sounds. One might imagine that this is possible only if one leaves everything and goes to the Himalayas! You don’t need to leave anything. You can be right where you are, and this very moment try to detach yourself from everything that you feel you cannot live without. Your loved ones, your prized possessions, your feelings…everything. This can be often misconstrued as being aloof, hostile, cold or distant. But infact it is the very opposite of all these. Attachment brings with itself innumerable expectations, which if left unfulfilled can ruin so many relationships. If there is no attachment, there are no expectations and a relationship without any expectation could be so pure and special that it needs to be experienced rather than described.
Try, just for a day, to detach from as many things and people as you can. Just keep in mind that these donot belong to you and you are not here to own them.
With each detachment you will feel lighter, calmer and eliminate the unnecessary fear of loss.
But here again I would like to emphasize that there is a difference between being detached and being unconcerned. You haven’t stopped being compassionate and caring. You still love your loved ones and possessions, but with an intention of being undeterred even if you lose them. You are the same you- only a step closer to the awareness of who you really are and what you need to do to free your soul.
As mentioned in the Bhagavad Geeta, chapter 6, verse 5:
ātmaiva hy ātmano bandhur
ātmaiva ripur ātmanaḥ
The word ātmā denotes body, mind and soul — depending upon different circumstances. Since the mind is the central point of yoga practice, ātmā refers here to the mind. It is stressed herein that the mind must be so trained that it can deliver the conditioned soul from the mire of nescience. In material existence one is subjected to the influence of the mind and the senses. In fact, the pure soul is entangled in the material world because the mind is involved with the false ego, which desires to lord it over material nature. Therefore, the mind should be trained so that it will not be attracted by the glitter of material nature, and in this way the conditioned soul may be saved. One should not degrade oneself by attraction to sense objects. The more one is attracted by sense objects, the more one becomes entangled in material existence.
It is also said:
mana eva manuṣyāṇāḿ
muktyai nirviṣayaḿ manaḥ
“For man, mind is the cause of bondage and mind is the cause of liberation. Mind absorbed in sense objects is the cause of bondage, and mind detached from the sense objects is the cause of liberation.” (Amṛta-bindu Upaniṣad 2)
To conclude, I would like to remind that your name is not your identity, but your soul is. Try to keep it as pure and uncluttered as possible. The lighter your soul is are the better progress you will make on your spiritual path.
Bhagavad Geeta source: http://vedabase.net/bg/6/5/en