We looked at a house yesterday and, for me, it was love at first sight. Truly. It’s the kind of house I would stare at during neighborhood jaunts in Seattle, North Carolina, and, now, California, wondering who lives there and what life would feel like if I was the person sheltered there. The kind of house reminiscent of books like The Secret Garden. The kind of house that oozes charm, character, and romance with every step, nook, cranny, and corner. It’s the kind of house, in short, that I’ve always secretly coveted … aside from one or two other architectural styles of houses that also embody my “perfect house.” So finding it and realizing that I’m [this] close to it and yet I remain so far away…well, it’s been difficult (shocking, I think, my reasonable partner). I’ve been sad, I woke up grumpy today, and I refuse to talk about it in futile attempts to get it out of my mind and far from the realm of my possibilities.
How strange is it to grieve for something I don’t even own?
Coming on the mat today, I gave it this feeling a name: coveting. I realized that I have house-envy. Fueled by imagination and memory, my heart gave a little leap and soared about two feet before realizing that there was no safety net, foundation, or any soft thing that would either hold it aloft or cushion its fall back to reality. My heart thought that in that house I’ll find perfection – in that calm and wildly creative haven – because all these years of staring and dreaming have built that illusion.
Perfection, if it can be found or even held, is only in perception. And even then it’s because we don’t have Superman’s eyesight to find all of those innocuous “blemishes.” If a house is perfect, then it is perfect in the same way that my partner is perfect for me – it’s because I’ve deemed it so and my life finds contentment there. And I’ve got to practice aparigraha, or non-coveting, not because of the materialism involved, but because of the illusions on which my heart hopes to build its edifice. This house isn‘t perfect. Even if we miraculously got it and moved into it, this house wouldn’t be easier, calmer, or more creative than my present surroundings and it wouldn’t make my life instantly “perfect.” Only I do that…and I can only do it day-by-day, little-by-little by mindfully minding the present.