“Healing is not about growing into a better version of who you think you are, but rather unravelling all you are not so you remember all you’ve ever been.“~ Vince Gomon
Today’s post focusses on the 5th Yama ~ Aparigraha ~ freedom from Greed. It is something that I have always taken for granted. This post is to highlight this yama and how to include this into our daily life. The Art of Living website is what I have been following and sets up an awesome template for the these substrates, i.e., Greed or possessiveness or covetousness by utilizing the enzymes that include: breathing, meditation, and personal exploration of these aspects of our dharmic characteristics as well as functioning in harmony with your physical constitution (dosha) through nutrition and wellbeing.
According to Sejal Shah, Aparigraha is freedom from greed, possessiveness, or covetousness. To define and understand the literal meaning of aparigraha, let’s break down its three components: the first is “graha”, which means to reach for, accept, seek, or crave; the second is “pari”, which means from all sides; and lastly there is “a”, which is used for negation and means “non”. Combining the three, the word aparigraha means not taking more than is needed, practicing non-acceptance (including gifts), and non-accumulation–all of which, when practiced together, can help in developing an attitude of detachment or non-dependence, trust, and self-reliance.
The virtue of aparigraha helps us learn to take only what is truly necessary and no more. One should not try to keep or try to possess anything beyond the very necessities of life, or that which is required immediately.
Benefits of practicing aparigraha
1. Access to the higher knowledge of life.
According to Maharishi Patanjali,
“Aparigraha sthairye janmakathamta sambodhaha” (Yoga Sutra II. 39)
Aparigraha = non-accumulation; Sthairye = established; Janmakathamta = of how births happen; Sambhodhaha = knowledge.
“Being established in non-accumulation gives knowledge of how births happen.”
When the yogi no longer desires to have possessions, he frees himself from the material world. This gives him a perspective of the purpose of his birth, both in this life and in past ones. He gains comprehension of the law of Karma and understands what lessons remain to be learned before attaining Realization. Patanjali says that “when aparigraha is established, one gets the awareness of past life events”. – Commentary from Swami Sivananda
He explains further, “Attachment, and the anxiety which accompanies attachment, are obstacles to knowledge. Freedom from attachment will result in knowledge of the whole course of our journey. Who was I? How was I? What is this? What shall I be? How shall I be? In this shape comes to him the knowledge of his own experience in the past, present, and future. He becomes independent and free. His mind becomes pure. Everything becomes quite clear to him. He gets a memory of past life also.”
Non-accumulation and non-attachment can simply mean that you don’t depend on someone or something external for your own happiness and stability.
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of who I am, I receive what I need.” This insightful quote by Lao Tzu explains the whole essence of aparigraha beautifully.
“The yogi feels that the collection or hoarding of things implies a lack of faith in God and in himself to provide for the future….By the observance of aparigraha, the yogi makes his life as simple as possible and trains his mind not to feel the loss or the lack of anything. Then everything he really needs will come to him by itself at the proper time.” ~ Dr. BKS Iyengar, Light On Yoga.
“Non-accumulating simply means confidence in one’s existence and in one’s abilities. It is knowledge of one’s self. You know how to make bread and know you can earn it. So you will not make bread for a whole year and store it. It will become stale,” explains Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
- A greater enjoyment of life
These words of Henry David Thoreau sound the bell of truth and freedom: “It is the preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly.”
Paying attention to how much we take and how much we hold on to can inspire a lot of change in our tendency of hoarding. If we can free our space—the outer as well as the inner—allowing energy to move easily and freely, then we create space for whatever the Universe has for us to offer. We then allow free flow of energy and we can live in the flow of the moment.
“What we try to possess, possesses us”, says Deborah Adele, ERYT500. This is so true. Without us even realizing it, our possessions start possessing us and start controlling and dictating our lives, demanding so much of our attention. Storage, repairing, maintenance, anxiety, attachment, all of these can imprison us and rob us of our freedom and the joy of the moment.
- An understanding of impermanence
In the words of Lao Tzu, “If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to.” The sooner we allow this idea of impermanence to sink in, the easier, balanced, and happier our lives will be.
- Unconditional love
“Love is what is left when you’ve let go of all the things you love”, said Swami Jnaneshvara of Abhyasa Ashram, Florida.
Aparigraha teaches you not to create an attachment with anybody, including your loved ones. This sense of non-attachment helps you to have a sense of belonging to everyone without becoming possessive, jealous, and codependent.
Aparigraha is the art of letting go and living life with open palms, open minds, and an open heart, so that all things, concepts, or people enter, exist, and exit effortlessly without creating any bondage or dependency.
Espresso Meditation Shot
Blessings to all…
Eating your Dosha!!
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