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Aparigraha: Let it Be

In the last post, I shared my own journey of forgiveness. In this last post on aparigraha, I will share some final thoughts on letting it be.

The things that we become attached to can create a sort of prison for us. If we have too many possessions, we can find ourselves living in cramped chaos. Right now, lots of places are having the biggest sales ever! It’s easy to justify making purchases because it’s “so affordable right now!” But, what do we really need?

I love shoes, and I own several pairs of shoes that make me happy when I wear them. Since mid-March, though the only shoes I have worn are my walking shoes, my hiking boots, and my winter boots. I have bought three pairs of walking shoes in that time, not because I liked them and wanted a different pair, but because I’ve worn them out! I have looked at other shoes, and I have wanted to buy other shoes because they are so cute and so affordable, and I love shoes! But I don’t need them. I don’t know when I will be out and about to wear them, so would that purchase really make me happy? Or, would it make me sad that I have this cute new pair of shoes, and nowhere to wear them?

It’s true that we have “less” places to go and fewer things to do. It’s also true that we are talking to our neighbors more, we are creating more community for ourselves. We are letting go of distractions that stop us from going deeper into our own thoughts and feelings and into our relationships with others. When we let go, we can see what is meaningful and there is more potential for inner growth during challenging times.

Ultimately, we have to let go of all the things that come before aparigraha. Turning away from harming and toward compassion for ourselves and others. Turning away from lies, or half-truths that we tell ourselves and others, and toward authenticity. Turning away from theft or taking credit, toward cultivating new skills and abilities, and knowing there is enough for all. Turning away from greed toward appreciation for what we have and taking pleasure in “just enough” or “just right.’ And, turning away from attachment toward living a life where we “care deeply and enjoy fully” without the need to control. Maybe this is why aparigraha is the last of the yamas. We start with ahimsa, non-harming and we progress through all of the others and end up with aparigraha, where we can “let it be.”

Here’s hoping that you are able to care deeply and live joyfully. I’m, so glad that you’ve come with me on this journey through the yamas, the ethics of empathy, the first limb of yoga. Next time, I will introduce the second limb, the niyamas, or the ethics of self-care.

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