Last time on Yoga Blog: Brahmacharya brought us love through acceptance and surrendering to the greater Self. The journey through the yamas continues, and as always, the others are still around to reread and ponder on. Now for the last yama. “Atha Yoganusasanam.” Fifth yama! Aparigraha…
What is aparigraha?
Aparigraha: non-greed, non-attaining, renouncing all but the necessary, rejecting. Aparigraha returns to the yamas of non-something or not doing a certain action. “A” as you remember is the “not” or “non.” Then there is parigraha a word of so many endless meanings that I could dig myself into a research hole and die there unaware of the depth I’ve reached. Here are just a few meanings that stick close to what we’re looking for with this yama: taking, attaining, acquisition, gift, possession, getting. Parigraha gives me hesitation when looking up Sanskrit words in a translation dictionary. If you are curious look for yourself and find meaning like: origin, marriage, force, grace, punishment, help, etc. To look at these other meanings is a fantastic thought-provoking exercise, but for now, to lessen confusion and my rambling, I will stick to the more understood meaning of aparigraha when talking about the yama.
Non-attaining, non-greed. Living at our means. No more no less. Figuring out what necessities one needs to live is hard with advertisements, peers, teachers, and talking heads telling us what we need and how we should be living, looking, enjoying. Through the fog of life, the false paths of propaganda shine steady. The lighthouses are out there. Warning of threats just beyond our perception and showing the safe waters to pass them by.
Meeting aparigraha in life
Living as one. Living for all. Not taking more than is needed so that the others can partake of their share. I remember being denied access to experiences as a child from another child’s greed over the activity. Children cannot be blamed. They are learning, but as we grow and build awareness and the capacity to share aparigraha spreads through our hearts. We begin to recognize the differences between need and want. We see through the shady obligations expected by greedy gift givers. How big does your closet need to be? Who uses the third bathroom? We live without striving for an insatiable acquiring of want. Balance. Not denying ourselves, but accepting, being aware of, what we use and have and why.
Aparigraha is the last yama of Ashtanga yoga, but Yoga continues. Yama is just the first limb. There are seven more. First, we uphold a moral code towards all without forgetting to care for ourselves. If our shell cracks how can we be the shining example existence needs. How can we stand up for truth? We can stand together. We stand as one with your person helping my person and my person helping yours. It’s not easy. I know it’s not easy. Thank you for listening. Be well.
- Ahimsa: non-harming
- Satya: truthfulness
- Asteya: non-stealing
- Brahmacharya: moderation, walking as the true Self
- Aparigraha: non-greed