APARIGRAHA: NON-GREED, NON-GRASPING, ergo: LETTING GO
What have you been able to let go of during lockdown? Here are some of the things I've been working with Aparigraha during this thought-provoking time ...
· I’m learning to let go of the need for certainty, and getting used to not being able to plan ahead. This inevitably encourages us to live more in the present. Of course, there needs to be some planning, but now it's planning for all eventualities rather than simply assuming we'll need more of the the same going forward .
· Letting go of the “normal” or usual way of doing things: yoga classes and teaching have had to change radically, as have we as students, to enable us to continue to participate in classes with the support of our fellows and our teachers. We've had to find new ways to do all sorts of things; taking classes on Zoom being a big one! There are many other areas of life too where we have had to become more adaptable.
·We’ve had relinquish the need to control, and also let go of our attachment for material things, as for many of us, our incomes have diminished; thankfully, our opportunities to spend have too! But this gives us pause to consider what’s truly important to us; the intangibles, like relationsihps, companionship, socialising freely, coffee and a chat with a friend – face to face in a café ?! - and being able to travel to be with relatives and friends who don’t live where we do.
I feel that we’re also learning about flow, being in the flow and being mindful of the energy of the universe. To take an example, there have been some amazing fundraising stories in recent times, such as the marvellous late Captain Tom for one, but many others too: doing things for unselfish reasons, helping other people in their communities for altruistic reasons. By entering the flow, in whatever form it takes, abudance comes back to us in many unexpected and beneficial forms.
And as ever, we can bring “letting go” and experiencing the flow directly into our practice. Here's how:
Not expecting a certain result when we enter a pose; just simply waiting to see how it unfolds. We are not the same person, now in that pose, as we were when we last practiced it. Our mood, our physical state, our mindset; all these can change from second to second.
Seeing each pose as a totally fresh experience and allowing ourselves to explore it as virgin territory will help us to get more out of each asana, each breath.
· Taking what we most need from the practice, no more, no less (see previous post on Brahmacharya). Letting go of anything we don’t need from it. Letting go of judgement when it's done, just allowing it to have been as it was.
Patanjali tells us in chapter 2 sutra 39:
“Freedom from wanting unlocks the real purpose of existence.”
Chip Hartranft says in his commentary on this sutra:
“Whatever the means of acquisition, being acquisitive is based on the deeply internalized belief that things can make us happy. Freedom from the compulsion to have ( = aparigraha) allows us instead to seek the true source of happiness, which is wisdom, or prajna.”
Namaste, wishing you the wisdom of the Yogis.