Every once in a while I come across an old file saved on my hard drive or on memory sticks that have old college term papers. I go through the memory sticks looking for any that might have some extra space to squeeze in some family pictures. I never open these old files, but I see them there and immediately move on because I can't seem to get rid of them. I don't have any interest in actually looking at them or reading them, but I can't seem to hit delete. Why am I hanging on to these old files?
Attachment is something we hear a lot about in themed yoga classes. Sometimes it comes across as lofty self-help lectures, and other times it makes sense. Like when I was teaching today and in preparation for a brief rest at the end of practice, I gave my students the option to rest in Savasana or seated meditation or even to move around and explore gentle stretches in liu of lying on their backs and suffering through major file overload in the brain.
I started to think about those old files that I found when I was looking for a memory stick with the slightest bit of leftover space. Instead of deleting old college term papers (which I haven't looked at since I graduated) I put the memory stick back in my storage drawer with the other 20 or so memory sticks with notes, college papers, and old documents from 20 years ago. Who knows when I might need them!
I could really use that drawer for storage, but I keep those old files and memories for a "what if" day. What if we do the same thing with our thoughts? Like files on a memory stick, we are holding thoughts and memories and the attachments to those thoughts and memories, which leads to reactions to those thoughts, all being stored in our brain. No wonder we find sitting and being still for more than a minute more of a challenge than arm balancing and stretching to our toes.
When we start to go through and read those old files, and realize that we will never actually need that term paper on a 30 year old psychology case study, or that receipt in the drawer for the laptop we bought 8 years ago (and have since upgraded to a new laptop), we start to delete. We begin the process of looking, reading, and understanding of the content, and then we can start to remove, reorganize, and create new space for new files.
What if we do the same thing for the files in our head, in our judgements, and in our attachments to old experiences and memories. Delete, delete, delete. More space, less clutter, and the ability to stop and enjoy the silence in that space.