11.39 aparigrahasthairye janmakathamta sambodhah: “Knowledge of past and future lives unfolds when one is free from greed for possessions.”
The yama Aparigraha is the practice of not acquiring more than is needed, and of letting go. It requires discernment and objectivity and offers opportunity to observe ourselves and our attachments from samskaras or impressions from this and past lives.
Cleaning out the studio, home office and my yoga space these past few weeks has surely been a practice of aparigraha. It was easy giving away, selling, recycling, and throwing away large things obviously not needed. Smaller things accumulated over time cluttered together avoiding detection was more difficult.
Realizing the automated "I may need that someday!" or "That was a gift !" responses that get in the way of progress are often reactions of the mind feeding on the sentimentality of past memories or creating false security in imagined future scenarios I tried a different approach. Instead of deciding what must go, I cleared everything out from the room and then went through and decided what was permitted back in. Not much. Discernment was easier for me in this context and the reality of an object as needed or sentimental was easily exposed.
The practice of aparigraha updates our look at attachment from new angles. It exposes not only what we are attached to but why; its origin, its purpose and what we may gain in keeping it or loose from letting it go. Unburdened by objects of the past or the future, Aparigraha clears the space around us and within us, leaving valuable time and energy for practice and enjoying life in the present.