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.

It is the nature of things to change and by failing to let them change or move on, they begin to disappoint us and our attempts to hold on begin to make us stale and discontent. What we try to possess, possesses us.

Anything we cling to creates a maintenance problem. The physically things we own demand our attention. Clutter in our physical space takes up living space, space to move around freely in. Mental or emotional clutter is a bit the same, it blocks our freedom to expand and to have space for the next thing life wants to bring us.

The fewer attachments (physical, mental and/or emotional) we “carry” with us on our day-to-day life, the more freedom we can find to enjoy, and engage in, and to live, every moment before us to the fullest. Free from expectations on how things should or shouldn´t be.

Besides the violence part maybe, the movie “Fight Club” (with Edward Norton, Brad Pitt and Helena Bonham Carter) is a really good movie on the theme of aparigraha. Seen from this perspective, what the movie is about is nonattachment. To not be attached to the things (like the perfect Ikea-home as in the movie), to not be attached to the image of ourselves that we keep on projecting and believing in, to not identify ourselves with the job we have, the stuff that we own, or how much money you have in the bank.

“Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don´t need” – Fight Club