Aparigraha means non-hoarding. It follows non-violence, truth, non-stealing, and moderation as the fifth of the five yamas, or moral restraints, required for spiritual liberation of a yogi. Non-hoarding is thought to be the most subtle of the five necessary restraints.
Aparigraha implies reducing the clutter in your life, both physically and mentally. The more “stuff” we have, the more stuff we have to worry and stress about. We think our possessions provide us comfort but really they give us more stuff to take care of, more things to worry about. The more cluttered and full our life is, the less space we have to let in the new and the less ease we have in flowing with the constant changes of this impermanent world. We become caught up with our “stuff” and overly concerned with protecting what is “mine.”
What we have will never be enough if we are living from this low frequency of fear, greed, and hoarding. We falsely believe that we need MORE, but really we need LESS. The Yoga Sutras tell us that we are inherently perfect. We are born as bodies of bliss but have gotten so lost in the clutter that we have created, that we have forgotten our true selves.
The mind is this way. If you pack your mind with thoughts, it becomes cramped in the same way that a small room filled with stuff does. Eventually the mind gets so full, there is no space for You anymore! If you can learn to let go of stuff you no longer need (past hurts, injustices, fears, judgments, opinions), you allow space for new ideas, creations, inspirations, and love to come in. You make yourself an empty vessel to receive. You allow Spirit to think, speak, and act through you.
The opposite of stress is faith. When you have faith, you don’t feel the need to steadfastly grip on to everything, because you know the Universe will provide for you. Everything that you need will come when you need it, so there is no reason to hold on to everything that passes by you. Faith is recognizing that the Universe doesn’t always give you what you want, but it always gives you what you need.
Reflect on what you have in your life right now that is creating clutter: unnecessary material possessions, unhealthy relationships, self-sabotaging or hateful thoughts. Ask yourself why you are holding on to this “stuff.” Are you scared to allow space for the new to come in? And you afraid the Universe will not provide you with what you need? Have courage. Look inside and realize that you already have everything you need. Have faith to let go of the extraneous mess that blocks your ability to live fully. See what you can let go of this month and then notice all of the wonderful new things that enter in.