My first attempt at letting go of attachment was an expensive one. I had finished reading Be Here Now, a book on spirituality and meditation. After finishing, a feeling inside pressed upon me that need to be more conscious, less attached, more Zen.

I wanted my life to immediately reflect this new mode of being. I decided to start by analyzing the place where I spend most of my time: my room. There’s so much stuff in here I don’t need, I thought; I should get rid of it.

And so, the purge began. I took down my posters. I gave away my sofa and my desk. I packed away all the clothes I barely wore, which ended up being most of them, so I also gave away my dresser. My friends were happy.

But I wasn’t. All that was left in my room were white walls, a bed, and a coffee table. I didn’t feel any more Zen, nor did my room look it. My room looked, well, empty. Will people who come in think I’m poor? Or boring? I felt naked. And stupid. The stark contrast made me realize how tied my sense of self was to my belongings.

To fill my gap of disillusionment, I went on Amazon. I intended to buy a desk and an armchair. I figure that would help make my room look more Zen. But the same way a distraught lover gets carried away with a bucket of ice-cream, I got carried away with the 1-click purchases, and ended up with a small table fountain, a tapestry, and a zabuton as well.

My room, now, felt more Zen. Sure. But I felt like an impostor. By focusing all my effort on the external result (emptying out my room) rather than the internal process (letting go of attachment), I lost sight of what I set out to accomplish (overcoming my dependence on the material world).

While reading Be Here Now there was a passage that particularly stuck out to me, I didn’t realize why until now. It was about how all the people who travel to India in hopes of meeting Yogi who will change their life, often end up disappointed. They travel all that way only to learn, as the book says, “Where you are going is HERE and you will arrive NOW.”

Like the muddled travelers, I mistook my ideal surroundings for who I wanted to become. But no matter how much I try, I’ve realized, there’s an internal aspect to change that can’t be faked or rushed.

I am where I need to be.

And so are you.

So let’s stop rushing or pretending to be anywhere else. :)