Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Aparigraha

So, it's not that I've forgotten my blog , just that no matter how much I try to preplan my life things still come up to shake up my plans. Which I'm trying not to get too upset about. Fortunately this coincides with my practice for the next two weeks. My last Yama to work on for a while is Aparigraha, non-grasping (or non-possessiveness), which really relates to a lot of different things I've posted around. Aparigraha and non-attachment go hand in hand and are locked down into the roots of our happiness. If we learn not to reach for things needlessly we can find a lot more joy in that which we already have. For example, the body needs food but if the restaurant is out of your favorite dish you don't let it ruin your whole meal (you're still getting the sustenance you need even if it's not in the form you would prefer). An easy way to practice non-grasping is by sitting still and training your thoughts on the moment, not on what you want or expect the future to be. It's funny how so much of the practices we should take part in involve being present in our now.

Because I'm short on time today I'll tell you the one big practice I've decided on for the two weeks and I know non-grasping will come up in my posts later in the week.
It's a simple yet challenging practice. Every time I feel or think of something that I want needlessly I stop and take 5 long breaths, focusing all my attention on the air moving in and out. After the fifth breath my brain has usually moved on and the urge to grasp at what I was thinking of has subsided. If it hasn't gone away by that time I consider whether I should be working towards what I was wanting in seriousness (I try to assess whether it is a need or a worthy goal, but the trick here is not to get attached to whether or not you get it). The interesting part about using the breath to clear the minds of the things I am reaching for is that a lot of our grasping starts with our breath when we hold it subconsciously. Even on this subconscious level your body and mind are wanting to hold onto things. So by keeping the breath moving you are letting go of what you are grasping at on a very primal level.
So let go and don't forget to breathe.