Yoga’s Antidote to Feeling Needy, Greedy or Possessive.
This week in the annual Yoga Immersion, we have been discussing the yogic practice called Aparigraha. As with many translations, there is no one English word to define Aparigraha accurately; the closest examples are non-possessiveness, non-greed and not hoarding.
The antidote to being possessive, greedy or a hoarder is the practice of gratitude and to recognize all the areas in our life that are rich and plentiful. There are many things we can do to remind our self of how abundant life is and to express appreciation.
If you would like to practice along with us, here are some simple exercises:
1) Think of a friend or colleague who has been generous; they may be a great listener, share their knowledge freely or always include you in social occasions. To express your gratitude, you might write or call them to show your appreciation or extend similar admirable gestures to them and others.
2) The next time you feel the urge to buy new clothes or jewellery, empty your closet to remind yourself of what you have already. If you find no need for certain outfits, donate them to charity. If you find there are items you'd forgotten about freshen up your look by wearing them, rather than buying more things to clutter your wardrobe. When I do this, I often get compliments.
3) The next time you think you have nothing at home for dinner, take a proper look through your cupboards. If you're anything like me, there will be plenty of forgotten about grains and spices that can go towards making a tasty meal along with vegetables left in the fridge. This saves pennies and avoids throwing away out of date food in the future.
4) When it's your birthday or the Holidays, instead of buying each other material gifts you could:
- Choose an experience that can be shared.
- Donate to charity, instead of receiving a gift.
5) Should you notice yourself feeling clingy or possessive over friends and family, take a moment to reflect on all the great times that you’ve already had with them and acknowledge that any time away from them doesn’t decrease the love and bond that you have created. As Sting sang “If you love someone, set them free.”
As Gandhi so astutely said ~ "There's enough for everybody's need, but not enough for everyone's greed."
How to recognize someone who is established in Aparigraha:
- They give without expecting anything in return.
- They share their time and knowledge generously without exhausting themselves.
- They give sincere compliments and feedback.
- They are comfortable spending time alone.
- They share their friends, loved ones and connections graciously.
- They treat people living on the street, millionaires and everyone in between with equal respect.
- They are content with a modest lifestyle.
- They celebrate the success of others without feeling they lack or have lost something themselves.