APARIGRAHA is one of the 5 moral restraints called ‘yamas’ as described by Patanjali in his Eight-Limbed Path to Yoga. Aparigraha is defined as ‘not wanting’, ‘not needing’, ‘not coveting’, anything that is not already within your grasp. Patanjali tells us that we are already perfect just as we are – filled with goodness and light. How lovely!
Every human being (and I imagine some animal beings, as well) aspire to know their purpose for this time on the planet. Everyone aspires to know one’s self, and to know to know the reason why we are here. This is called spiritual pursuit, of course. Most unfortunately, our culture breeds the idea that we will find our purpose by accumulating more, desiring other what we already have, and striving always to want MORE, and to be MORE. Further, the myth that ‘happiness’ is obtainable from without, is …or has been – up until very recently – the means for our economic stability…which has now utterly collapsed. How complacent we were as we went merrily on our way – accumulating, gathering, and still not satisfied.
Consider the young couples who have now found themselves overwhelmed with insurmountable debt because they needed to have housing that was above their means.
Consider the aging population who spent literally millions of dollars per year – often money that they did not have – in creams, potions, and even on cosmetic surgery – in an obsession of perpetual youth.
Consider the low and middle income earners who now find themselves in a unbelievable state of not being able to repay credit card debt due to ‘needing and wanting’ what was outside of their means.
Our economy has been based on pumping up GREED.
We must overcome this. Aparigraha is a discipline that requires work. And work we must. The next time you see something that you desire, ask yourself “Do I truly NEED this?” And then, answer honestly.
True happiness comes from within. From that which we already have. From family, friends, from working hard, from learning, from loving, from compassion and kindness. From moral DISCIPLINE. Aparigraha. Not grasping.
By Maureen Rae, E-RYT