Aparigraha, or nonattachment, brings us to the end of the Yamas portion of Patanjali’s Yamas and Niyamas. It invites us to enjoy life to the fullest while simultaneously being able to drop everything. This requires trust. Like a trapeze artist, who must let go fully to be ready for the bar swinging towards them, trusting the timing of the swing and not their own effort to reach it. Letting go is like that mid-air experience. However, most of us would prefer to let go only when we know for certain what’s coming.
This guideline can also be interpreted as nonpossessiveness, nongreed, nonclinging, nongrasping, and noncoveting. It asks us to let go and pack lightly for our journey through life, while having a deep care for it. Aparigraha reminds us that grasping for too long in an effort to maintain security is detrimental to the growth and natural unfolding of our lives.
Basically, anything we cling to creates a maintenance problem. Clutter in our physical space blocks our ability to move. While clutter in our minds blocks expansive thinking. Attachments blinds us to the opportunities around us. The irony is that our expectations keep us captive and often disgruntled, yet we choose them again and again rather than our freedom.
Nonattachment doesn’t mean we don’t care or that we shut ourselves off from pleasure. On the contrary, we are asked to let go of the clinging, not the enjoyment of the thing itself. Practicing constant generosity and unfailing trust will go along way in keeping our grasping in check and keep us open to life’s unfolding.
Next up are the Niyamas, starting with purity. These are the second portion of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.
Beams of gratitude to Deborah Adele for her wisdom and inspiration.