Aparigraha - The Yama of - Let that shit go!
Tough one. Non-attachment, letting go, not being greedy. So easy to say you’re doing, so hard to actually fucking do. It sneaks up on you, all the fucking time.
Just a quick scan over there to see what your friends have, thinking oooo nice, if only I could have that. Completely normal, we’re inspired to do that, in order to grow, to move forwards and to strive a little.
But they so easily turn to want, to converting, to greedily and sulkily yearning for something we were perfectly happy without ten minutes before. Humans hey. Fucking nightmare.
Or, there’s the not letting go, of things, of people, of places, of times. I once read that it often isn’t a place you’re homesick or place-sick for, but a period in time. Perhaps a time when things were easier, happier, when you felt safe and loved and like you belonged.
Trouble is, if it’s gone, and it will have shifted in some way because that’s how time tends to work, it’s how people work, wanting it back only brings pain. Which is a bastard.
I struggle with this so much. I want to go back to a period in time when I wasn’t sick and dependant on others. When I made my own choices, paid my own bills, ran my own life and felt invincible. I want so very much to go back to the period in time when my mum was alive, our family unit stable, my whole future ahead of me. I had a home, I had a community, I was blessed to have animals to love. It was beautiful in so many ways. But, if I keep looking over shoulder at those lost years, I’m going to miss the now and possibly the future too.
That can be so god damn tempting for someone who doesn’t have their health. The now can be a fucking ball breaker. You can so easily slip into living in the past and yearning for the future if you’re not careful, and completely nail aparigraha in the worst way possible. I know, I’ve done it over and over again. I’m special like that. I aim to do things in the worst way possible at least four hundred times before I consider trying another way, and then only reluctantly. Obviously, I’m joyous to live with.
Just recently, I left my home of many years, and I didn’t leave without a tremendous struggle to stay there, to cling to the past, the memories. I was superbly attached to the garden, the garage that was my granddads, the little animals I loved and fed (I lay awake at night worrying that they haven’t got enough food, but you can’t pack hedgehogs and foxes and field mice in cardboard boxes - it did occur to me to try). I even considered bringing the green 1950’s carpet. Yep, like I said, letting go is not my thing. But I did it, I threw most of everything I owned away and I left. I consoled myself with the living beings I have in my life. And attached myself to them instead.
Don’t learn the easy way do I? Fuck sake. It’s only in losing my connection to my partner, that I’ve realised, I have to learn to not attach too deeply in the first place.
It’s a bastard though, a bastard because I can’t earn money, I can’t busy myself with work, I can’t socialise with friends and I can’t fill my life. I’m trying, I’m doing this blog, this website, but generally I have to sit in the place of loss and it feels a bit like I’m drowning to be honest, drowning in sadness.
Like I said, the now can be a fucker if you’re sick. Actually, it can just be a fucker full stop.
It occurs to me, therefore, that while letting go is the healthy thing to do, it’s also fucking bollocks. Not attaching importance to things and places is the goal of the enlightened ones (although I would just like to point out that while having a goal is wonderful, don’t attach to the goal… omg sneaks up on you, see!), not converting is the path to the best version of yourself, but it’s gut wrenchingly difficult for some of us. The sentimental ones. The ones who has lost so much already. We don’t want to lose more.
Generally I think we just want to belong, to have a home, a family, friends, we don’t really want the shiny stuff, not deep down (maybe just a bit), we don’t want or covert what other people have (maybe just a bit), we just want to feel safe, to be loved, to love.
I don’t know if I’ll ever master this last Yama, but I’m going to fucking try and not attach to the idea of trying - see how creeps in, the sneaky bastard!
I’ve had to let my relationship go, our future go. I’m walking into the unknown and I’m shit fucking scared. I want to wrap myself around him and not let go of our history, our past, our connection - but I’ll use every tool I have at my disposal to not fold beneath the uncertainty because of aparigraha.
Aparigraha can be interpreted in so many ways, but whichever way you look at it, it’s a bastard of a challenge.
Perhaps one of the toughest of all the sutras, perhaps….