Our pleasures are not (all) Material
Moving back to Munich from my 5 month adventure in Zürich, and having moved all my stuff there and then subsequently having to move it all back again, meant that since the middle of January, I’ve been living with what I could pack and travel with by train, and because I have a strict policy of small luggage- (a bag I can easily carry myself up stairs and down if I need to) it meant I’ve been living largely with very little.
It took me a couple of months to find the right apartment in Munich, which I did, (moment to celebrate) and then I had my stuff delivered.
You’d think it would be like Christmas going through and opening all the boxes of things I’d been separated from for almost half a year, my beloved books! My shoes….
But it had the exact opposite effect. As soon as they’d arrived, I wanted them gone. ‘Just ship them to some other place please’ is what I wanted to politely say.
It felt like so much…. Baggage. Things laden with value and meaning I really didn’t need; an external reflection of my attachment and sentiment.
I unpacked what I needed and gave a lot away. I also threw out a lot and now I feel better.
I have a (great) mattress (on the floor), I have a table and chairs in the kitchen, a table outside and literally nothing else, but the weirdest thing is that I’m not in a rush, dare I say outright reluctant to get anything. This is very confusing for most people; least of all to myself, and I have been offered all kinds of suggestions, usually accompanied with a look of concern, as to how and where I might start to buy some furniture.
Of course I will get more stuff, but for now I’m enjoying the space (I have such beautiful wooden floors), so much space and nothingness. I am enjoying the potential of it all, the quiet, and the freedom from sentimentality and distorted value.
I am also thinking hard about what I really need, consider it the decorative version of only speaking if you can improve upon the silence adage. That’s how I want to fill my space … only if it can improve on the spaciousness of nothing.
So what is this about?
The yoga sutras (forever present in my mind) talk about non-hoarding. The Sanskrit word is Aparigraha, which means keeping the desire for possessions to what is necessary or important, depending on one's life stage and context.
My first serious yoga teacher who was a real Yogi in India had 4 shirts (orange and exactly the same), four pairs of white pants, his reading glasses, his mala beads and that’s it.
He lived in a house his wife basically kept while he spent most of his day in the basement, with a small window meditating- when he wasn’t teaching us insatiable hedonists yoga in the Ashram.
I thought at the time that he was pretty impressive, but also rather dull.
I now start to see glimpses of the wisdom.
This is a path, I am on it, that’s all. I am still a sucker for experience, for nice things (in the process of redefining) and am partial to a good wine, good food, sea side trips and a nice party dress. However, I do look forward to seeing how this particular way of being evolves and what other areas I can bring it into.
On the path