Yoga Sutra 15 describes how a person can be free from cravings from the outside world and as a result be clear in their thinking and live a conscious life mastering non attachment. Practicing this will bring longer lasting inner joy, happiness, and peace of mind. This resonates with me because when I was out of college entering into graduate school most of my very close friends were getting married and having babies. They were having these big weddings, buying expensive homes, and seemed to be doing everything they were expected to do. Many of them became at home mother’s which back then was looked at as such a privilege because they did not have to work. I remember not wanting to marry my college boyfriend who at the time I was still dating. He came from a very wealthy family and would receive quarterly checks from a trust fund which his mother inherited. My question at that time was, is this really going to make me happy? I watched my mother mentally struggle in her life not from what my father did not provide her, as he is an oral surgeon with a very successful practice but with herself emotionally. I discovered as all of us do some of the challenges our parents face. I decided not to marry my college boyfriend and instead I moved up to Burlington, VT and lived on my own up there for 4 years. I knew I needed some time to heal from things in my past and was tired of getting in my own way not feeling good about myself. I remember how hard it was to live hand to mouth for years barely having money to buy food and put gas in my car. I Spent a lot of time at the holistic center in Burlington, VT, practicing the Merkabah, a spherical breathing technique and spent a lot of time in prayer, meditation, and yoga.
I grew so much spiritually and mentally while living on my own. I felt so much better about myself being of service to the community in which I lived ,working in a community care center, and then for catholic charities. I knew that my mind was feeling better and my thinking was a lot clearer.
Years later I am continuing my practice of healing through yoga, prayer, and meditation. I certainly have done things very differently than what was expected of me. I never wanted to rush into getting married and I never wanted to bring a baby into this world. At times the struggle to do this work was so painful. Now I feel so much better about myself. I have worked very hard to reconcile the relationship I have with myself and I look around now at my family, friends, and society and am reminded of how unhappy people are. Marriages are falling apart, so many ending in divorce, parents are stressed out and overwhelmed raising their kids, and so much depression and anxiety. I hear all the time I wish I didn’t get married so young or I didn’t know how hard it was going to be raising children.
As much as I grow financially I will always remember how I felt years ago having nothing. The things I buy now I feel good about because I buy them for myself, no one else is handing things to me, it feels good this way. I fully understanding that the things I may purchase, as expensive as they maybe, will never replace the happiness, peace, and joy I have found through my practice of yoga, meditation, prayer, and a non attachment to a belief system of defining what happiness is suppose to be for me.
Dr. Melissa Samartano, PhD., LMHC, RYT