Ladies and gentlemen, this is Yama number five. Aparigraha
Seriously, I am chuckling to myself at my *ahem* witty title. Although now I have an annoying earworm and memories of dancing around like a loony to a cheesy song...
Aparigraha is the yama of non-possessiveness. Do the things we own define us? Do we ever really own anything? Property, toys, clothes, relationships, people??
I was reminded of this yama every time I went into my sons bedroom. He would love to draw, to write stories and used to always raid the recycling bin to make robots or superheroes out of cereal boxes and kitchen towel tubes. When I suggested that maybe he doesn't need to keep ALL of his creations it almost always ended in tension. The spark that was ignited in his imagination as he wrapped reams and reams of sticky tape around an egg box was immeasurable and the enthusiasm he felt for the newly invented space vessel flying to outer space was really quite special; but he was only six and he didn't quite see yet that the magic of his creation was actually as the creation was taking shape. As it happened. In the moment. He wanted to keep it forever and ever to keep hold of the magic. How do you explain that to a six-year-old? Did I want to explain that to a six-year-old??
We can apply this logic to an adult mind, although it is hard to grasp at any age. As adults, we might constantly be chasing a special feeling and so we strive to re-create that delicious meal or try to orchestrate exactly the same night out at a disco. Oh. Just me then? Maybe we ought to remind ourselves that the magic happens in the moment and endeavour not to cling desperately to the memory in the hope of repeating it. Each moment is different.
Within our physical practice on the yoga mat, it's worth considering that every day our bodies feel different; we may have eaten differently, we've had different experiences, our immune systems might be fighting off different germs or viruses, so how can our practice possibly be the same every time or how can it have improved every time? The practice on the mat today is precisely that; the practice today, the challenge is to accept and find contentment in the magic of the moment.