Aparigraha

Lately, I have been thinking about the fifth Yama, “aparigraha.” This yama, this social observance discussed by Pantagali in the Yoga Sutras, encourages us to approach every action and interaction with no expectations, no attachments, and without a sense of possessiveness. That is, often we need to let go of various ideas, needs, wants, and desires we have when entering into various relationships.

In thinking about this social observance, I have noticed two types of attachment within my own life: The first is the tendency to cling towards things that have evoked a positive response, memory, or feeling. While the second imgrestype of attachment applies to things that have created or caused a bit of suffering and maybe even pain. And regardless of whether the attachment is towards that which is pleasurable or towards that which can be painful, in both instances it seems that attachment is sparked by the need to feel some semblance of control within while avoiding the uncomfortable fear of the unknown.

As we come into today’s practice, I would like to invite you to think about something within your own life that you are holding on to. It may be thought, feeling, person, thing, or situation that evokes feelings of joy and pleasure, or even someone or something that evokes a bit of discomfort, suffering, and maybe even pain. Whatever it is, I would like to encourage you to open to the possibility that your attachment to this person, place, or thing has less to do with the entity itself and more to do with your own relationship to the unknown.

Mini Meditation:

Take a moment to begin to notice your breath. Notice the way in which it effortlessly enters and exits your body. Notice its, volume, depth, weight, texture, rhythm, quality, and sound. And without applying too much energy, see if you are able to elongate the breath. At the top of your inhalation, allow the breath to still in the body for a moment before you slowly exhale. Notice the ease by which the breath enters and exits the body. Can you see how it might be possible to apply this sense of effortlessness to other areas of your life?