The 5th Yama (Yogi's moral precepts), Aparigraha (non-possessiveness, non-attachment, non-grasping) is....“To live from the heart, as mindfully as possible and in a spirit of loving kindness, we must face all aspects of greediness within us and be willing to make the necessary changes. This is the practice of Aparigraha.” Bhava Ram
When we open our eyes to the vast majority of humankind living with starvation, poverty and suffering, to realise there are so many living without the luxuries many of us are accustomed to and perhaps too often take for granted, unfortunately it doesn’t mean we can then feel a deep ongoing gratitude for all that we have. Gratitude is a daily practice and developing the habit leads to living with Aparigraha. Countless times I have been in Third World countries and witnessed locals demonstrating so much joy and gratitude over the simplest of things. It made me feel incredibly guilty that I don’t always display this in my day-to-day living ten fold over with all that I get to have in my world. However, it also makes me realise in affluent cultures there’s a hopelessness of so many living with so much and taking it for granted by always wanting more, never feeling we have enough, an endless greed. This too is a form of suffering. The more we take from the world’s resources the less others have, a fundamental reason for all conflict and wars to take place. Most of the wealth in the world is at the expense of humankind and Mother Earth. This much greed is from feeling not enough, unfulfilled and sadly, disconnected from one another, Mother Nature and the Divine.
Greed and attachment is also portrayed in our modern world as obesity, hoarding of clothes and material possessions, excessive aesthetic surgery and simply having excess of anything. Even the over-thinking of a project at work, constant worry about the future, what might or might not happen ~ these acts are removing us from the present moment, from doing what it is we are doing right now whole-heartedly, immersed in an act of love without attachment to the outcome. We also place this attachment and grasping on our relationships to people and our pets. Have you ever wondered how one person can suffer loss in an unimaginable traumatic event, and yet rise up and become a beacon of light and inspiration for others…..yet another can experience loss and the grief sets in and envelops their spirit evermore to go on living a lessor life because of this loss? The answer is in the practice of Aparigraha, non-attachment to the joy another brings to us, instead knowing that it exists within us always. To be grateful and unattached to what was requires allowance and acceptance.
Becoming attached to a positive feeling or experience is completely human, why wouldn’t we want to feel happy for as long as we can? But do we really let ourselves fully have that experience or do we cling to it, willing everything to stay just as it is in that moment? Change is the only constant thing we can expect in life. Our physical bodies are undergoing change every day yet so many, not only women, ‘cling’ to beauty, to youth, even though we know ageing is inevitable.
Happiness, joy and peace are important emotions to feel, but so too is sadness, anger and loss. To experience only the good stuff is to experience only half of what life has to offer and unrealistic. To truly live we must not push away the things we don’t want to feel, but allow them to happen, and know that this too shall pass. When we attach to an expectation of what we thought could or should be we become stuck and suffer unnecessarily. When we let the moment be what it is without either trying to cling to it, or to push it away, we can really say we’re living in that moment, allowing things to come and go, without the need to possess any of it.
“Feelings are just like visitors. Let them come and go.” Mooji
We can practice Aparigraha in our every day lives by spending time each day cultivating gratitude ~ for the material abundance we can enjoy and share with others, receiving sacred blessings from Mother Nature, appreciating the gift of the breath, practicing self-less acts of service without expecting anything in return.
“Let your concern be with the action alone, and never with the fruits of action. Do not let the results of your action be your motive, and do not be attached to inaction.” Krishna
Take your practice of Aparigraha onto your mat, no expectation, no attachment to outcome just play in the present moment enjoying the gifts of your breath. In your Online Membership try Yin - Whole Body Release & Yoga Nidra, Rest'n Restore - Body + Mind.
Enjoy your week ahead Yogis