Good morning, beautiful people. This week’s Yoga Tool, Aparigraha, or non-hoarding, has been teaching me a lot about what I need. I used to feel I always wanted more—more things, more food, more work, more money (of course). By making Aparigraha my meditative focus this week, and practicing it in various ways, I’m seeing what I really want more of:
Time. For writing, for spending with my husband and family and friends. For the quiet spaces we used to get before there were screens everywhere.
Space. A sense of openness, both in my surroundings, like getting out in nature, and in my head, as in not being so distracted by constantly doing. Or thinking that I have to constantly do.
Happiness. The real thing, not the kind I think buying things will bring me. Look, I’m all for a cute dress and a new notebook, but material goods are fun, not the source of real happiness. I want the real, lasting kind that comes free with a good attitude toward life.
Letting Aparigraha unfold in my life has had dramatic results. I’m eating less and feeling more satisfied. I’m working more effectively. I’ve gotten rid of things I don’t need, which creates that spaciousness I want. I’m less stressed and have long periods of being calm and focused.
The process was simple:
As with making any positive changes, we begin by generating peace within. We can’t make good decisions when we’re in fear. This is why I start every morning with Deergha Swasaam, or Deep 3-Part Breathing Practice.
I use this practice as a meditation in itself, focusing on my breathing. If I’m meditating for around ten minutes, I usually release the Deergha Swasaam practice a few minutes in. This lets me start my day calmly. I can also repeat the practice any time I feel stressed.
My focus this week is Aparigraha, Yoga’s ethical principle of non-hoarding, so I’ve been using a Mantra during meditation:
I have enough. I am enough.
After meditation, I think about how Aparigraha can translate into my life: What am I hanging on to that I no longer need? This starts with my physical surroundings, so I go around and take stock of what’s in our closets, on my desk, in my drawers.
If you haven’t done this in a while, I fully recommend Marie Kondo’s Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. While it seems to be about organizing, it’s actually a deeply spiritual exercise that will reveal a lot to you and help you become lighter and unburdened. Because this is the truth about spring cleaning and Aparigraha:
You’re not just getting rid of material things you don’t need. You’re releasing emotional baggage too.
What you’ll find as this goes on is what I’ve found this week: You have enough, because you are enough.
Actually, you are more than enough. You are a divine light. Unburden yourself so you can shine even more brightly on the world.