Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Aparigraha: non-attachment

For my practice of the 5th yama, Aparigraha, the affirmation I was working with was “I tap into the endless source of love and wisdom rather than clinging to others and material things for fulfillment.” I feel like I’ve been bombarded with lessons of Aparigraha and the lessons of this affirmation these two weeks. I’ve been conciously working with it in my relationships through setting boundaries and remembering my sense of self. And I’ve been forced to work with it in material things… I happened to lose a couple of random things these two weeks, one of them being my favorite green winter hat. I searched all over for it, and have had to let it go. It served me well and was just material, which can be replaced and no doubt will be. The biggest lesson of Aparigraha has been non-clinging to (and therefore letting go of) worries.

One thing that struck me as I was reading about Aparigraha in the Sutras was Iyengar’s commentary that Aparigraha is not just about non-possession/non-hording of physical things but also of “freedom from rigidity of though”. I had never contemplated how holding onto one’s thoughts, and that ideas can be a form of possessiveness, but I can certainly see the truth in this. Over this lifetime I have developed patterns of thinking and ideas that I have held on to as “truth” that may not be such. And that possessiveness of these thoughts, holding on to these patterns of thinking hold me back from developing spiritually, from loving myself and others fully, from connecting with the divine.

This is particularly true in my clinging to worry or obsessively planning for the future.
Whenever something is unpleasant or frustrating in the present my unconscious reaction is to plan/worry about the future, rather than really experience what is going on in that present moment. I’ve got a long way to go in order to overcome this ingrained pattern, but realizing is one step in the right direction. And spending time doing yoga, returning to my breath, slowing down, is another.

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