Whybe a Dog Lover - Non-attachment
Growing up I was never a “dog person.” And yet, stray dogs and cats found their way into our home year after year – there was something about my mom that they knew they could find a safe haven at our house. I didn’t like the feeling that I couldn’t communicate with them, and often, taking care of them was a chore for me that I did not want to do.
Fast forward to the year I moved to Houston, TX. The first full year in a new city, with a new full-time job, and having to study in my spare time for the CPA (Certified Public Accountant) left me very little time to socialize and make new friends. I had a need, though I didn’t yet know what it was called. Somehow, I ended up scrolling through the "puppies" section on Craigslist. I’ve always been the type of person to think, consider, reconsider, reflect, contemplate, and think some more before I commit to a decision – and this was no different. Wait. Me? Get a dog? No, that didn’t make sense. And yet, there I was, searching. I reasoned that I had no intention of really getting one, so the browsing was just a fun, relaxing activity. For almost an entire year, as I browsed the internet and saw more and more pictures of dogs with their various stories, I began to think about the possibility of getting a dog.
And then, I found
the Craigslist ad for Beau.
A local family had an accidental litter between their Basset female and Australian Shepherd male, and were looking for home for the puppies as soon as possible. Instinctively, I immediately got in contact with the owner, and arranged to meet her dogs. I knew right away when she brought the puppies out which one I was going to take home. Beau: he was the only one that had a different color pattern to his fur, and he also had a hole through his ear. Most of all, his happiness was contagious!
Little Beau has been by my side ever since. He and I have made the road trip from Texas to Indiana, and back more than once. He survived my busy seasons in Fort Worth, living out of a suitcase in hotels for weeks at a time, and we’ve moved houses together. He’s seen me at my worst and been there for some of the best times of my life, all the while adjusting seamlessly. When Beau is upset in a moment, he’s fully upset. And when that moment is over, and he finds himself ecstatic about something else in the next moment, he’s fully immersed in THAT moment. This is natural for him, and as I’ve observed this behavior, it has taught me a valuable lesson: Beau is teaching me how to live in the moment. No matter what is going in my life, he’s taught me to appreciate every single moment for what it is.
Never did I expect a dog to teach me
so many lessons about life, others, myself.
There are so many lessons he’s taught me, and one of the most powerful is non-attachment. At first it seems contradictory – Beau would be by my side for every second of the day if he could and for that matter, I would too. He lives for me, and I love to see him happy, so why wouldn’t I want to spend every minute I could with him? Of course I want that! And yet, this little, furry being taught me the importance of letting go.
Aparigraha or non-attachment
or "non-greed," "non-possessiveness
Aparigraha, is one of the central teachings in the Yogic text, the Bhagavad Gita. Attachment comes from clinging to an expectation of the future, or being stuck in a past way of thinking.
By practicing non-attachment, we ground ourselves more fully to the present moment.
Sure, he’s sad when I leave for work, and no matter how long I’ve been gone from the house (or even the room), when Beau sees me, he sees me for who I am in that moment. Not for some way I could be in the future, or how I’ve been in the past. When I am sad about something that happened in the past, or anxious about something that has yet to happen in the future, Beau still approaches me from a lens of love for me in that moment. In this way, he’s given me access to truly being present. This is how he lives day to day too – simply as he is in that moment, which has nothing to do with the day before, or the days to come.
Applying it to my life and mat:
Beau has taught me to be present. Beau simply feels what he feels moment by moment. That, to me, is truly living. By learning the power of presence, I have come to fully understand the concept of non-attachment.
Letting go of my attachment to do the pose “right,” has allowed me to tap into how certain poses feel in my body. For example, I practiced handstands for over two years – kicking up onto the wall, out of alignment, not fully engaging my core when I flew my legs up. And then, when I finally shifted my attention from nailing the pose to learning about the pose, my handstand practice exponentially grew.
Non-attachment has allowed me to remain a student forever and always in my yoga practice. When I dropped the need to get it right, I created space for the possibility of growth and learning.