Aparigraha & the Season of Change
The new year is off to a speeding start as I find myself amazed that Spring is already upon us. Green hillsides, bursting flowers and energizing sunshine abounds. With nature unfolding around us, there's a renewed sense of energy to transform and bring new life into our own living experience. Thus, the season of change is upon us...
Spring brings change in the most beautiful kind of way as we witness nature blossoming out of winter. Being a part of nature, we inherently change during this time of year too. Change or transformation can be tough, though, as it demands an almost constant kind of letting go. There’s a beautiful concept from the Yoga Sutras that I think can help us with this Spring-inspired transformation and that is Aparigraha.
Aparigraha means non-grasping or non-greediness. It’s actually a fundamental step in learning how to ease our sometimes ‘out-of-control’ human nature. Our true human nature is that of harmony, which is a balanced state of constant ups and downs. We’re meant to fluctuate, experiencing a combination of ups and downs, but never to constantly live in either singular state. Aparigraha is the simple reminder to not strain to keep the ups, but to also allow and surrender to the downs so we may find ease (thus harmony) in our humanness.
I love this idea of Aparigraha as it applies to uncomfortable mental states. One of my Ki-isms is suffering only occurs when we resist what is. By resisting an experience, our mind is grasping at how something is ‘supposed’ to be. It's the grasping alone that creates so much internal discomfort. When we let go of our grasp around how it’s supposed to be, when we surrender our expectations, then we can more gracefully experience the fluctuations of life...which are inherent and inevitable. When we live in harmony, the fluctuations are still perceived as ups and downs, challenges, lessons or gifts, but not as suffering. Again, those fluctuations ARE harmony; they are human nature.
As the ups and downs of life start to issue their way forth in this season of change, I invite you to recall the lesson of aparigraha if you ever find yourself in a state of dis-ease. When the downs cause a little too much frustration and your mental state is far from harmonious, I encourage you to consider what you are attached to that you can be generous enough to let go? Consider asking yourself if there may be something bigger and even better at play that your mind can't even imagine? When the highs are upon you, enjoy and experience them fully, but know that harmony is fluctuation; don’t cling so fiercely to the highs that as the moment passes you plummet so low. Aparigraha is to allow the fluctuations, finding harmony by inviting in just as much as you are letting go.