Aparigraha is the fifth and last of the five yamas in the 8 limbs of yoga. It means non-greed, non-possessiveness and/or non-attachment. The essence of this yama is to take only what we need, keep only what serves us in the moment, and let go when the time is right.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says ‘Let your concern be with action alone, and never with the fruit of action. Do not let the result of action be your motive, and do not be attached to inaction’.
If we do things because they are the right things to do, the outcome does not really matter.
Let’s bring it down a nudge and look at how we can practice Aparigraha in a more practical way. Generally we own way more than we need, and we hold on to it longer than what’s necessary. I think most people can relate to this. Also, when we talk about non-attachment, what we’re really talking about is letting go of the idea of who and what we are, and not try to be something we’re not. In fact, we don’t try to be anything at all. So whenever you start comparing yourself to others, you have an idea of who you are. As you let go of this idea there is really nothing to compare with. Everything gets to be just as it is. This is a way to let Aparigraha into your life. Let go of things you own just-in-case you might need it again. And ask yourself next time you go shopping, is this really something that I need, or am I being a bit greedy?
A lot of the time when we buy things, eat, drink, do drugs or whatever, it is an attempt to feel whole, but we all know the wholeness is only temporary. It’s only temporary because it’s not true. Whatever we did was not making us whole, it just distracted us from feeling something we’re trying to avoid.
Instead of trying to fill this void or emptiness, Aparigraha encourage us to rather face it. If you are a seeker of truth, you can’t keep covering the void in which the truth lays. As you let go of your attachments, you enter the emptiness and you become empty. The whole idea you had of who you were is gone, yet you still are. Just as a newly born- he or she have not created an idea of who they are. In their head, they are not even a human, they are not dead nor alive. There simply is no concept of them as an individual. Yet there they are, fully present. This is Aparigraha.