We’re wrapping up our exploration of the yamas this week with a look at aparigraha (you can see an overview of Patanjali’s the eight limbs of yoga here). The yama, ethical behaviors for social harmony, allow us to contribute to the health and happiness of the world in which we live.
Aparigraha is the concept of non-hoarding, non-possessiveness, and often as non-attachment. How many times do we let our desire for and accumulation of “things” get in the way of what matters most in our lives? Whether by “things” we mean material possessions or more ephermal emotions, the pursuit of outside sources of happiness often get in the way of our realizing our true and best potential. When we have faith that all we need is already within us, we can enjoy the freedom that aparigraha brings. We can take what we need, keep what serves us in the moment, and let go when the time is right with gratitude and grace.
When I was in college and took a philosophy course, I misunderstood non-attachment as a negative concept. I thought embracing it meant being cold and uncaring. As I get older, I see more clearly that our odd emotional attachments bring about so much divisiveness. We need only look at the current political environment in the U.S. as an example. We are so interested in reinforcing our own belief systems and tearing each other down that we have forgotten that we are stronger when building each other up.
In peace and unity,