Aparigraha: Nonpossessiveness

The last of the five yamas is a bit of a personal favorite, maybe it´s because I´m not too sentimental with stuff. I find it fairly easy to let go of things, and I believe that I´m not too attached to stuff in general.

In the book that I´ve been using to base my classes on, called “The Yamas & Niyamas” by Deborah Adele, she uses the comparison of aparigraha to our breath. And encourages us to “trust life like we trust the breath”.

If we could take in all the nourishment of the moment and then let it go fully, trusting that more nourishment will come?

Besides the interpretation of nonpossessiveness, one can also think of it as nonattachment, nongreed, nonclinging and nongrasping. Or put slightly differently, but as I´ve chosen to put in writing in one of my tattoos: “let it go”. But of course, as with so many of these guidelines, it´s a lot easier said than actually done. Cause it is so easy to want (and expect) the same satisfaction, the same acknowledgment, the same fulfillment from certain things over and over again. Continue reading “Aparigraha: Nonpossessiveness”

Brahmacharya: Nonexcess

To understand the concept of “nonexcess” perhaps it can make sense to look at the opposite first, when we are in excess, when we are “over-doing” it, whatever it might be. There are a number of different things that we can overdo, some of us are perhaps overdoing one thing, some of us are overdoing more than just one. We can be overdoing food (top ranking of foods that we often overdo are sugar, salt and/or caffeine, strangely enough, not that many people seem to be overdoing lettuce), exercise, entertainment, sleep, sex, material possessions, alcohol and on and on.

In yogic thought, there is a moment in time when we reach the perfect limit of what we are engaged in. It is this moment of “just enough” that we need to recognize.

If we take food as an example, we gain energy and nutrition from the food that we eat, up to a certain point. When we pass this point, and continue eating, the food is not bringing any more energy, instead we begin to feel tired, drained. The nutrition from the food becomes excessive, and either we simply get rid of it through bowel-movement, or it is being stored as “energy-reserve” (meaning fat) in our body.

So why do we move past the place of enough? Why is it so hard for us to grasp the concept of “enough”? Continue reading “Brahmacharya: Nonexcess”

Asteya: Nonstealing

Stuff does not get any easier. This is a challenging one for sure, and I think that we are stealing much more often than we might think we are, and no, I´m not accusing you of stealing things from friends´ houses, or shoplifting. For instance I am referring to all those times we steal the “spotlight” from our friends, or the people we randomly are having conversations with. When we “take over”, and the conversation all of a sudden is about us, instead of the person who was talking. Or perhaps we steal from others by simply not paying attention to them, when we might feel that looking down into our phone is more important than the person in front of us.

In all the instances where we steal, we have made the situation about us, not about the other. Whatever words have or haven´t come out of our mouth, the intent has been to serve ourselves, not the other.

I personally love the invitation to “be a forklift”, to work on always be lifting people up. To more often ask ourselves does the other person feel uplifted and lighter because they have been spending time with us? Have we brightened their day, by taking a moment from focusing on ourselves, to instead focus on them?

Continue reading “Asteya: Nonstealing”

Satya: Truthfulness

When we have laid the foundation with the first of the Yamas, nonviolence, it is time to continue to build and add another layer. The second of these guidelines is the practice of truthfulness. And just like with Ahimsa, there is so much more to it, than first meets the eye.

Living our truth goes deeper than “simply” not telling lies. And we very much need to pair our truthfulness with the compassion of Ahimsa so that we are not beginning to use the truth as some kind of personal weapon, going around telling everyone “the truth”, and justifying it with “I am simply telling the truth”.

Backing up a bit though, and pondering about lies, and the reason we might have, or at least that we are telling ourselves that we have, to tell a lie. As Carl Jung writes, “A lie would make no sense unless the truth was felt to be dangerous.” Why do we lie? Are we afraid to hurt someone´s feelings or afraid if we told the truth we would not be liked or admired anymore?

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Ahimsa: Nonviolence

To build the foundation of Ahimsa means pretty much to work on finding our courage, and using that courage to face our fears of the unknown of, and in, life.

As we know, courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to be afraid without being paralyzed. Courage is found by facing our fears – the small ones, the fat ones, the embarrassing ones, and the really big, scary ones. Cause, if we keep ourselves safe, how will our courage grow?

As our courage grows we can use that courage to create balance in our lives. To live a balanced life means to sometimes lose balance, and to realize that balance is not something we one day all of a sudden find, but that it is something we create. We create it by identifying was is essential to us, and that we, with the use of courage then build as much as possible of our life around those things essential to us, working on eliminating things not so essential to us.

Balance comes from listening to the guidance and wisdom of the inner voice. To be in tune with ourselves, we must get quiet and listen and then heed this inner voice.

Continue reading “Ahimsa: Nonviolence”