With an ever-changing frame I am learning to let my ideas about my body and beauty be fluid. I always thought pregnant women were magnificent carriers of life and that I would easily feel the same way about my own pregnant body. Initially that was not the case. Yeah, the ethereal mama goddess that I had always hoped I would be wasn't exactly how I felt when my pants stopped fitting, my skin broke out, and my feet expanded. The harsh lights of a changing room does no one any favors, especially not a woman nearing her third trimester. Several weeks ago the TJMaxx changing room rocked my world and got me a lot more upset than I had ever imagined feeling. I felt petty and guilty for being upset about the evolution of my body that was providing life to my child. What kind of selfish, egoist was I? I had known this would happen, right? It's all apart of the gig, so what right did I have to be upset?
Often we don't realize the attachment that we have to things (or people or ideas), even our bodies until that relationship changes. The idea of non-attachment in Buddhism teaches us that attachment is the source of all suffering. Our world is constantly changing and clinging to what was or what we had (or have or will have) will only bring us pain and turmoil. This idea seems pretty intuitive (albeit against Western values), but is much more difficult in practice.
With the idea of non-attachment in mind, I actively decided to not only accept, but celebrate the changes my body was experiencing. So I don't have any shoes that fit; I'll thrift for some adorable new ones. So my skin has lost it's mind; I'll do all I can to pamper and help it along. So I'm feeling down and emotional about certain changes in my mobility; I'll incorporate more meditations on acceptance into my practice and include more activities that aid strength and flexibility into my day. These changes in action and perspective haven't always been easy, but they have been so rewarding already. Why choose to dwell when you can welcome the new and move forward?
I didn't realize I was so attached to how my body looked until it started to change. And change it has and change it will continue to do. My body and my feelings about it will continue to evolve, but as long as I am making every effort to take care of myself I must learn how to embrace where I am. My unborn child and I are healthy. I am keeping myself strong through diet and activity. I am trying to give myself every opportunity to love every change that I am experiencing. I am beautiful and I am doing just fine. Whether it's pregnancy, breast-feeding, gaining/losing weight or muscle tone, developing wrinkles and gray hairs, etc... we will all change; the difference is how we react.
"When we can observe any situation without being affected, then that would imply a non-attachment. And that is the true meaning of renunciation. Renunciation does not mean leaving your family and the world and going to some Himalayan cave. That’s escaping.
Many things in life are paradoxes. One can be totally devoted to someone and yet be non-attached. Now there is a difference between non-attachment and detachment. Detachment is to exclude oneself from all activities of life and just to be far away, to become reclusive. To be non-attached is to be able to partake of every activity of the mind and body and spirit and yet be above it all. Now, when ones goes into detachment, it could be a form of escape, where one does not face up to the responsibilities.
The real Self within us is ever unfolded and encompasses everything existent, tangible and intangible, animate and inanimate. When we speak of spiritual unfoldment we are referring to removing the veils of attachment to transitory values and recognizing them for what they are worth. We are gradually going beyond the shackles that tie us down to relativity. There’s nothing wrong with being in relativity; but being tied and weighed down, that is the condition we are trying to get away from.
Attachment is always generated by need.
If we direct our belief and faith to mundane things, we will achieve mundane things. We will achieve transitory things which can never be fulfilling. The need will always be there, and by fulfilling one mundane need, that one mundane need will create two mundane needs and two will create four.
The cause of all unhappiness and misery in this world is our attachment to name and form.
What man has to strive for is that tranquillity where all the praise in the world does not elate him, and all the blame in the world does not deflate him. This tranquillity brings about a certain kind of nonattachment.
We do not look deep enough. There is nothing in this world that is ugly. Everything is beautiful because it is created and it is a product of Divinity. Once we go beyond the surface value of a thing then we see the beauty within everything."
Have you had a similar experience? What experiences do you have with non-attachment? Are there any changes in your life that you are having trouble accepting or are actively working through? I'd love to hear about it.