Aparigraha as translated means dis-possessiveness or non-indulgence.
Swami Rama says “Everything in the world is for one to use but not to possess.”
Materialistically talking, we always like to own, things that we can buy and label it as ‘mine’ and that’s the kind of the environment we all have brought up in. The excitement of buying that new car, getting the promised gift from parents after I came first in class, receiving that new dress on my birthday. The excitement was only till the gifts were in my hand. As I had them; i always realized it didn’t give me the fulfillment i assumed it would; no ‘thing’ ever filled that void after possessing what i desired and thought will give me happiness. Does that mean don’t buy a car or a dress? Buy it if there is need for it in the current situation but buying something only to prove a point to others is where we get it all messed up.
One reason I understood for my need to possess things is because am in the possession of ‘I-ness’. Busy, satisfying this illusory and delusory being called ‘ego’ that’s inside this mind; I repeatedly failed to quench the inner thirst with worldly things. At the same time It’s said that a beggar can be more possessive of his begging bowl than a king of all his riches. So it not the matter that matters but the attitude.
And the best things in the world are available to us dirt cheap, like walking in a rain, trekking through the woods, admiring the blooming of flowers, watching the sunrise and sunset. Some times I really wonder if I even know how to enjoy?
Aparigraha for me will be dis-possession of the feelings, the emotions, the thoughts that fuel this I-ness. Everything the mind puts forward is to be first tested and put in the fire of discrimination. And then this itself is a scary thought; if i don’t feel or think; what am I to be? A zombie?
Well so to begin with; every one needs a personal philosophy and their own outlook towards the life. Even just for one day, simply witness the turbulence which occurs in the mind, one will see a lot of energy gets divested in variety of thoughts, moods and situations all of which are simply the creations of the monkey mind and has not existence outside one’s fantasy. From moment to moment; we get swung by these ripples of energy coming to us in the form of these negative thoughts, emotions of fear, greed, attachment, expectations and all of this is laced with that same ‘I-ness’ and deeply entangled by this illusory mesh of the mind.
Well it’s easier said than done. But even simply starting to see how these ripples come and hit one and even for once if one manages to not be possessed by it; It will turn into a gift. That simple ripple of energy will be available to be used in the desired action of your choice; not the ego’s but the choice of Buddhi, the higher intellect. The more one plays with it, the more challenging and interesting things this mind will throw out.
So I am slowly learning to not get swayed but at the same time not get fooled by the outside world. A dichotomy! Learnt this hard way… Yamas and Niyamas are the commitments we make to ourselves but need to be practiced skillfully when we are functioning and dealing with worldly things. For the sake of the example; it will not be very wise to lend one’s bike to someone who will not use it carefully simply because you are trying to practice aparigraha. That will only bring an unpleasant experience. That’s why discernment is very necessary. Skill will be required to keep your bike safe without breaking the 1st yama Ahimsa.
Dis-possess all that is not helpful but one is so in the habit of clinging to and that is the I-ness.
What are your views on aparigraha?