A few weeks ago, I came upon this quote and right away it reminded me of a yogic practice called "Aparigraha" (one of the five Yama's or "restraints" in the eight limbs of yoga)....
"If an acorn is attached to being an acorn, than it will never realize its potential to be an oak tree.
There is a fear that comes with non-attachment. People are generally attached to their happiness and the things that make them happy. We are afraid of change and of non-attachment, this can become a perceived threat to our happiness.
It is very much the opposite. Change is the universal law of life and nature. To be non-attached is to understand the nature of change and align with the ebb and flow of the universe. Growth only happens through change. To realize your potential you must connect with change and disconnect from attachment."
- Dylan Werner
I love Dylan's definition of change in this instance: "to be non-attached is to understand the nature of change". This yogic idea of non-attachment is also a definition that stems from the first limb of yoga, the Yama's, or more specifically, one particular Yama called "Aparigraha".
Aparigraha is a Sanskrit word that means "non-grasping" or "non-attachment", and it is the practice of releasing our grip on things we do not need. There are a lot of physical objects that we don't need, that really don't bring true value or connection into our life. Objects that take up space and use our energy (we must dust them, move them, look at them, think about them). Even more so, it's easy to associate identities or emotions that tend to hold us captive to certain objects. I think this is a tricky arena to wander around in because I can attest to certain objects of mine holding great meaning and value that I feel are necessary to hold on to. I believe certain objects can retain energy and be useful as a representation of something greater, whether it's a personal quest or a reminder of how to live.
Aparigraha also describes a practice of non-attachment to the non-physical like our sometimes critical and judgmental perception of who we are, how we see others to be, and the experiences we have which can stem determinations about life and our purpose. According to the yoga tradition, releasing attachment will keep us mobile and constantly seeking freedom. Removing ourselves from unnecessary needs will allow us to stay in line with what is true.
In a culture consumed by endless stores, products, objects, gadgets, fidgets and widgets, attachment seems unnoticeably accessible. Personally, I feel like it's something I am constantly working on through elimination, organization and making sure the things I own serve a purpose that brings me closer to living with intention and awakening myself to a deep sense of happiness. For example, less items in my home allow for more physical space, which reminds me to be creative and purposeful with my free time. That doesn't necessarily mean I have to be doing something with my free time, but it's an opportunity to make a more conscious decision of how I want to spend energy or rest.
Within this seasons of Autumn, the temperatures are now consistently colder and the dying leaves are starting to completely cover the ground. This is a time when Aparigraha can become a focus point in our life. Nature is showing us its example of non-attachment by shedding leaves, detaching seeds and allowing them to fall to the ground and go dormant....trusting in the cycle of the seasons to bring back purposeful life from that disconnection of energy.
"If an acorn is attached to being an acorn, then it will never realize it's potential to be an oak tree." This quote reminds me of the personal limitations we as humans can sometimes strap ourselves into. Aparigraha teaches us to know we are more than what we may define ourselves to be, and to shed the identities that we (or someone else) has poured over us. It also teaches us to recognize when we need something, when we don't, and the trust to know when to let go.
This is the time to detach, to shed the leaves from our branches and let fall what needs to fall. And we have to do this with recognition of our fears and a trust in the process of non-attachment. From that space of release and trust, we may get a glimpse of the bottom layer stays constant within us all: change.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this:
Do you agree with seeking a practice of non-attachment?
Are there ways you have tried this that have brought more space and freedom into your life? Maybe simply just by decluttering your house or getting rid of objects from the past?
Post in the comments!
Hello, I'm Julie.
One of the many things yoga taught me was empowerment...and I hope to share that with you here.
Bring wisdom, nourishment and a deeper connection to all aspects of your life.