Self-Care Blog Post

Non-Attachment: Why Cling To Stuff?

Non-Attachment: Why Cling To Stuff?

Letting go of attachment to stuff is not the same as letting go of stuff.

Stuff. Things. Items. Belongings.

I look around at my stuff. Why has it been so important to me? Why have I believed that I need it? What exactly was I attached to? The things themselves?

No, I’ve been attached to the illusion that stuff makes me feel better, or that I need it for comfort.

Truth is, I don’t need things to maintain memories. I don’t need stuff around me to divert myself from uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. I don’t need stuff to prove my worth.

I just don’t need stuff.

This isn’t to say that I shouldn’t have stuff. Stuff is fine. Important. Helpful. Inspiring. Useful. Fun, even. The problem is when I hoard it or cling to it. It becomes an issue when I believe the story that my stuff somehow makes me whole.

It’s like this with status symbols. No matter how coveted, visible or famous a thing is, physical possession of it is not a reflection of who I am. It only speaks of false pride – ego grappling for self-worth through recognition and fame – or to be pacified and placated in the face of emotion. Diversion.

Letting go of attachment to stuff is not the same as letting go of stuff

Letting go of stuff is as simple as not having it around me anymore. Letting go of attachment to it is no longer believing that I need it.

When I view a thing in a non-attached way, keeping it around becomes a mindful choice, not a subconscious fear-based compulsion.

A few times a year, I experience a deep inspiration to move forward with less heaviness and less attachment to stuff. Travel lightly. Live simply.

Quite some time ago, I had a garage sale during which most of my stuff – almost every single thing I owned – went to new homes. With quiet curiosity, I watched the flow of garage salers hungrily clamoring to go through my stuff, hoping for the high of getting the best deal on coveted, newly discovered treasures.

Interesting magnifying glass on the nature of humans. I quietly witness others on their journey of gathering, while it is time for me to let go.

Mindfulness and non-attachment

So, once again I begin a cleaning, clearing and cleansing of the things around me.  I feel a natural progression to go through everything slowly, consciously choosing what will stay and what will go.

One by one I pick up each item, assessing it with fresh eyes, spending time with each piece. I look at the things in front of me as if I’ve never seen them before. Slowly, mindfully, I hold each thing, paying attention to how it feels in my hands, how it looks, how it smells, pondering deeply whether it is something I truly want or need with me. Conscious, methodical attention to each thing.

I become the observer. Standing back from myself, not being hooked into thoughts, feelings, attachments. Simply witnessing.

And something curious happens: a quiet, contemplative, soulful peace deep within.

No matter how much I may sometimes think stuff keeps me safe and secure, in the end it’s all just transient anyway. A bunch of things, meaningless in of themselves. Without them, memories and feelings still exist.

So why cling to it?


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