And let go of what you don't.
We don’t have to be prime candidates for the casting of Season 6 “Hoarders” to have an issue with keeping shit we don’t need. Holding on to and accumulating unnecessary stuff is really the symptomatic manifestation of hoarding. In fact health professionals, treating those who hoard, begin by addressing the defective thoughts and emotions that trigger the compulsions to hold onto “stuff” before they tackle the obvious symptom: the piles and piles of god knows what.
With these images of chaos and disorder sifting through our minds let’s take a moment to consider Aparigraha – the fifth yama – non-grasping/ non-hoarding/ non-accumulation. Not sure about the yamas? Haven’t got a clue what they are? No problem. A couple of posts back we touched on this subject and included some super handy links for extra reading. Head there now before you read on.
It might seem dramatic to draw similarities between having a severe anxiety disorder that results in “hoarding” with the concept of Aparigraha or “non-grasping” but if you remove all the illusions that separate “you” from “that” and simply ask: Do I take, keep or want more than my own reasonable share [of anything]? I’m pretty sure we’ll all say YES. Bear in mind your answer is not meant to incite any judgement only highlight a cultural norm, where we in the Western World, have way more than what we need.
This is not to say we must chuck on turmeric dyed cloaks, shave our heads and receive alms. It’s completely ok to enjoy the comfort and abundance afforded to us here and now. It’s more a question of how attached we are to things. All the things. Just understand we are blessed with so much more than material security here.
Yet we constantly grasp and snatch at ideas of wanting and needing more. If we practice Aparigraha – we’ll notice it’s the ego that wants more. The ego operates from fear. From the place where there is not enough, from neediness and comparison. Our ego will tell us to keep the thing we no longer need because it may be useful “one day”. But our heart knows what is enough and is burdened by the unnecessary weight of hanging on. Those who hoard “things” (whatever they may be: emotional/physical/mental) are driven by attachment. And the insecurity that creates attachment to stuff is the same insecurity that creates attachment to ideas, labels, relationships even grudges.
Can we find a way to bring Aparigraha to the mat and trust all that happens on the mat will simultaneously flow into our lives at large?
Of course! Here are 3 ideas for you to entertain when the moment seems right:
1. Take only what you need. Not less, not more. Consider the most challenging part of class – the peak pose. Where can your body reasonably go? What option will you take? Can you let go of the expectations? Have integrity and detach from the thoughts that tell you where you “should” be.
2. Receive what you need. Do you have a lot of questions about yoga? Your body? Your limitations within the practice? These are important issues to address. Instead of trying to squeeze a few distracted minutes in after class why not book a one on one session and allow yourself to receive the right amount of attention.
3. Detach from labels and associations. You may be physically a certain way: thin, tall, short, strong, flexible, bald, vegetarian, mother, brother, video game addict - whatever (you get the drill). When you come to the mat can you drop the labels and separate from the stories you tell and were told about who you are. Just let go. And be. Here lies delicious freedom.
Are you interested in reading about simplifying life? Becoming Minimalist recommends 8 different blogs inspired by simple living. There’s a lot of focus on having only what you need in these…
Over to you now: what have you let go of lately? How was your experience of letting go? I really look forward to you sharing in the comments below.
Namaste. Rhy xx
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