This week was focused on the practice of Aparigraha, which means non-clinging or non-possessiveness. It can refer to material wealth, but it can also refer to our thoughts, emotions and desires. I read a great article on Aparigraha that began with a very simple question. What do you hold onto (maybe a little bit too tightly) in your life?
I have never been a person that is particularly attached to material possessions. Except for my premiere membership at DSW, but that only covers shoes, boots and purses. And even at that, I think my shoe addiction is minimal, at least by Hollywood standards.
I tend to hold onto people and thoughts. And I have a tendency to hold onto them long after they are no longer useful to me.
One of the most important lessons in yoga is to be in the present moment. Yet I often find myself living in the past and and letting those memories or experiences (both positive and negative) define me. While it is natural to find comfort in what is familiar, those same old thoughts and ideas can also hold you back and prevent you from moving forward in your life.
I am the middle child and with that comes a strong desire to please other people. Somewhere along the way, I got the idea that it was my job to take care of everyone and make everyone else happy. That is one thought from my past that I am trying to let go of so I can focus on my own life.
Each person is responsible for their own happiness. I know there were times when I was so focused on making sure everyone else got what they needed that I forgot to think about what I needed. Lately, I have been spending more time thinking proactively about my life instead of reacting to events going on in other people's lives.
It is not easy to detach from old ways of thinking. And it doesn't happen overnight. But over time, I know it will get easier.
As I have been trying to detach, I have noticed something very interesting. When you start to detach from people or outcomes, the things you are detaching from seem to be more drawn to you. I mentioned last week that I turned down a date with the Elevator Guy because being with him would take me off of my path. Now he continues to e-mail me and text me trying to figure out how he can get back on my path.
If I was clinging to him, or to the idea of a relationship with him, I don't think he would be drawn to me. It is just one of the laws of the universe. Non-attachment is the ultimate freedom. Not only does it free me from unrealistic expectations but it also gives others the freedom to be who they are without any judgement.
Putting my faith in the wisdom of the universe is humbling and empowering at the same time. And that is a beautiful gift to give myself and the other people in my life.
So, did any of you practice Aparigraha this week? If so, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.
Next week we will be practicing Sauca, which means purity and cleanliness. There is both an inner and an outer aspect to this practice. The outer aspect has to do with keeping ourselves and our home environments clean. The inner aspect has to do with the clarity of our mind and the purity of our body. Through yoga and meditation, we can try to clear toxins from the body and learn to control or re-direct negative thoughts in the mind.
A few weeks ago, I tried to meditate every day for a week. This would be a good week to make a promise to myself to experience either a physical yoga practice or meditation each day.
You are invited to join me this week in the practice of Sauca. Even if you don't practice yoga or meditation, it would be a good week to think about what food and drinks you are putting into your body as well as what you are feeding your mind. I will be back next week to report on my progress.