Sutra 2.39: aparigrahasthairye janma kathanta sambodhah
When the inner light of intelligence illumines the state of mind that has firmly rejected all greed and there is contentment with what life brings unsolicited, there arises knowledge of the mysteries of life and its why and how. Translation and interpretation by Swami Venkatesananda
What is aparigraha?
Not grabbing around. Not grasping. Letting go.
Each and every moment is only its own, past and future are illusions of the mind. If one lived entirely in the moment, parigraha (grasping, holding on) wouldn’t even be a concept. And there would be no need for a-parigraha (the opposite of parigraha) either. As it is, we all live in oscillation in and out of the present moment (could our brains do otherwise?), and so each of us has plenty of opportunities to let go and not grasp in order to better experience ourselves and our environment.
How about starting with experience?
I am, at heart, a pack rat. But somewhere in my early years, I figured out (or it was impressed upon me) that the hoarding of things quickly becomes a burden for a fast-moving sprite like myself. And just like that, I decided I could easily live with less (mind you, this isn’t the same as letting go of stuff, but it’s a happy intermediary). Where I can give up stuff without anguish or a third thought, I suffer miserably letting go of experiences. Though they are transient and impermanent to begin with, like a child who doesn’t know what tomorrow will bring, I cling to them tearfully.
Experiences make us who we are, so if they are not with us, are we anyone?
I could go on and on about this, but I’m going to let this one lie there, largely to avoid clingy-ness, and suggest that this week, you (and I) cultivate a practice of returning to a moment. Not to hang on to or recreate an experience, but to experience every moment anew, even those that are familiar. At the same time each day (or same moment in the flow of your day), spend 5 minutes with any practice that is simple enough to do without much thought (maybe sun salutations, watching your breath, lying in savasana, or “non-yoga” knitting, running, etc). For me, that will be sitting in meditation, and this week I’m using a mantra welcoming abundance of the moment (om lakshmi vamshree kamaladarum swaha), so I can let go of all the others.
Hari om, om tat sat!
Experience your true self and bring it into every moment of your living!
The Yoga Sutras are a classical text on yoga–a guidebook of sorts.
Each week, 216 teacher Esther Palmer dives into one of the sutras and we let it take us where it takes us.