Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Practice of Aparigraha

I am used to kind of like living like a sadhu, or like to think I was, however, sadhu’s only possession may be a kamandalam (a water pot) and I own a little bit more stuff. I used to take pride that all I pretty much owned was a car, some clothes and a cat.Now I only own a car and some clothes as my beloved cat has passed on. I have been living out of suitcases for the past couple of years and have been enjoying it, I’m weird like that. I’m not going to lie,
I have always secretly wanted to be a sadhu, well now is my chance.
I have come to India to attend a program with my Guru Paramhamsa Nithyanada called Living Enlightenment Process. I have now officially entered “Sadhu Boot Camp”. We have been given the opportunity to live like real sadhu’s in the loving energy field of the ashram in Bidadi.

Aparigraha is the fifth yama (restraints) of Asthanga yoga’s eight limbs each one representing one aspect of Living Enlightment. Yamas and Niyamas are guidelines as to how we can live a yogic lifestyle. How we relate to people and situations outside of ourselves is yamas and how we relate to ourselves inwardly is niyama. This is the core of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. The sanksrit word is translated as non-grasping, non-possesiveness. The term usually means to limit possessions to what is absolutely necessary and to maintain a non-greed mind set, non-grasping or clutching on to things. Non, non, non something I am definetly not used to. I usually satisfy all my desires without any second thoughts to whether I really need this or that. Always taking unconsciously taking without any regard to whether it is really necessary or not to have those 15 cookies. Is it really possible to be satisfied with just one? In this day in age at least in my society the mantra seems to be “If one is good then more is better”. Just look in my kitchen junk drawer there are at least 50 packets of soy sauce which I will never use! What about all my clutter and the all the extra clothes I don’t even use? When I go grocery shopping I buy way more than I can consume. Do I really need all this stuff? Where does all this hoarding come from? Greed. Which ulitimately stems from fear. Fear of not having enough, because if I don’t have enough I will die. Every fear if we really try and trace it’s root source is a fear of death. So we just keep grasping and hoarding every last thing we can. I have to admit when I do this it really doesn’t make me feel comfortable. I believe that this fear is really a fear of not trusting Existence and it’s ability to provide for me and al my needs. What is it going to take to get me to relax and trust? Activiely practicing aparigra with full awareness at every moment.
Aparigraha does not only apply physical material things it also applies to our relationships as well. This could even go as far as not monopolizing someones time or taking advantage a friends generous nature.

Lot’s of interesting things are coming up with this aprigraha process. I find that I really appreciated things more in my life that I used to take for granted. Especially food! At any time of the day could I eat anything that I wanted in any amount. Everything was within my reach, just a car drive away. I could satisfy every craving I ever had no problem.
It is taking extra awareness to control my food cravings. It would be all so easy to say ‘Oh, well, I need protein, I need sugar, I need caffeine, I need this, I need that”. What this whole process is teaching me that I really need less than I think I do. I can get by and manage with a lot less. It is true what Swamiji said when you do this exercise it really frees you up. Frees up your inner space.
In this process here at the ashram most of the time we don’t have hot water and sometime we don’t even have any water! There was one time when there was just ¼ of a bucket of water that someone left (clean of course) and I managed to take a bath. I was amazed at how little I need to get the job done. When we do have hot water it is such a joy, such a treat! I am so happy! I really can appreciate the warm water so much it’s as if every part of my body is celebrating. All these things that I so easily take for granted back home.
My greatest understanding in this exercise is there is more than enough in this abundant Universe and all I need to do is relax and trust that Existence is taking care.

When you understand the purposelessness of life, you understand the meaning of living. ~Paramahamsa Nithyananda

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