The Big Man (Buddah) once said:
"The root of all suffering is attachment."
He also said
"You only lose what you cling to."
I mean that dude was wise AF, and I've always appreciated & respected that but I didn't really have a clue what he was on about.
I briefly checked in with the Yamas & Niyamas a couple of times in the past, but it was during my Rocket training last summer that I really got my head around them, figured out what they meant to me & realised that they were just as applicable on my mat as off.
So I'm gonna talk you through my feels on Aparigraha - Non-Attachment.
I found myself living a very goal oriented life; getting 1st place in the primary school 90m against ALL THE BOYS, getting good grades, getting into Uni, getting a good degree, getting a good job, getting to the right weight . . . I chilled out a little with all the money & weight crap but still trying to GET into King Pigeon, Forearm Stand, Lotus, Get into Meditation, Get a successful Yoga Business, Get MORE than what I already had.
I was so attached to the "goal" that I wasn't paying any attention to all the small breakthroughs in emotional & physical progress, financial & spiritual progress, or even celebrating the fact that I was being disciplined towards something.
No! All my happiness depended on SUCCESS.
I was concerned that if I didn't have goals to work towards then I was being a waster, non-aspirational, non-achieving.
How can I reach my "Full Potential" if I don't aim for better?!
And this was where I had gotten it all twisted . . . it wasn't the having of the goals, dreams, ambitions that was robbing me of joy, but my attachment of all the joy to getting the goals. The expectation that the goal itself would bring me joy!
Living your Best Life, Creating your Best Self, reaching your Full Potential is not reaching a final destination, but enjoying and embracing every moment of the journey there.
Being present in every moment you are lucky enough to be here for.
I was missing out on the joy in "every moment".
My life was & is fantastic, I am fantastic right NOW.
YOU ARE ENOUGH
That doesn't mean don't aspire to be even better, it just means check in regularly & remind yourself how freaking awesome you are right now!!
I would really like to be able to get comfortable in lotus more frquently, but hey right now I am enjoying exploring different ways to open my hips, enjoying the unexpected occasions when it just happens, and getting darn good at letting go of the times when it is not available.
Coz once I can get into it more regularly I'll only start working on doing it 'hands free', in a headstand . . . but I could also lose a leg and not be able to do it at all!
I would also really like to have more time at home with my husband, and therefore get a bigger private client base that I can teach during regular work hours, and also get retreats going so we can travel more.
I remind myself frequently that this will be great, but right now I have a few private clients, I have lots of great classes, and when I want to go on holiday I can take that time out as I have fabulous teacher friends who will cover me.
Life is pretty darn great RIGHT NOW and I look forward to seeing how "even better" it could become!
My point is - There will always be more to want/get/work towards.
Believing you will "be happier when" . . . just promotes a feeling of less & sadness now, but also what if you never actually "get the thing".
Then you will NEVER be happy.
I believe YOU ARE CAPABLE OF ANYTHING (within reason) but somethings just aren't meant for you, either right now or maybe even ever. That doesn't mean you can't try to reach them, but it does mean you need to be prepared to either miss all together, or to certainly not have them forever, and to therefore enjoy the process of exploring the possibility. Chances are when you get there you'll want something else anyway, the Joy will be fleeting so at least have an enjoyable adventure to look back on.
Wanting, being greedy for more, stems from a lack of self-worth or self-appreciation as you are. Believing having more physically, in the bank, on paper etc will make you happier actually just sets you up to be even sadder when these things are lost. Happiness is an inside state not a number, not a car badge, not even a soul mate. Sure those things enrich your life, bring you joy, but you need to find a way to connect with YOUR INNER HAPPINESS for just incases!
Nothing lasts forever.
The only thing we can control is our reaction to stuff.
Grieve for the appropriate period but remember the power to be happy is in your hands. You chose whether to attach your happiness to someone, or something else.
I suggest you start trying to choose to enjoy being in the presence of said thing/body but also practice enjoying time without. Discovering that Joy is a choice is powerful!
HOW? Gratitude Baby!!!
I'm not suggesting for a moment not to set goals, to not dream of a bigger house, a better job, a particular yoga pose . . . I'm just saying that good things take time & effort, enjoy each and every step towards your dreams, they will grow as you do.
When you embrace this idea of being happy now, appreciating all that you DO have/are, you remain excited for the future growth potential & YOU WILL BECOME UNSTOPPABLE!
"Overcoming envy and fear, we cultivate and understand the true purpose of our life."
Top Tips for how to cultivate aparigraha:
Practice Gratitude. Take a few moments to either say out loud, or even better jot down 3 things you are grateful for each day.
Create an Abundance ABC list. Write something for each letter that you are grateful for.
Practice Letting Go. Have a regular clear out of things that you don't use anymore, take them to the charity shop. This also applies to your mind. Take time to see how you feel and make sure you work on releasing non-serving emotions as well as old clothes or books.
Practice No-Expectations. When you don't expect a certain outcome you protect yourself from disappointment if it doesn't happen. This is particularly true with Yoga poses - eg. You got handstand a couple times so now you expect handstand every time, you don't get it one time, your sad vs. You explore the possibility of catching a hold every time you kick up, enjoying that work, and when you get it you feel happy/ proud. When you don't no matter you weren't expecting it.
Practice Positive Flooding. Tell somebody you care about all the things you like about them. Notice how good is feels to give. You can (should) also do it to yourself.
No more Victim. If (when) obstacles fall in your path try to re-frame your thinking from "Why is this happening to me?" to "What is this teaching me?" Be grateful for the chance to learn & grow.
The river of Life ebbs & flows; as does the weather, your finances, your physical health, the people around you. Go with it, embrace it all! The tranquil crystal clear pools and the swirling rapids. As long as you maintain your "boat" (buoyant attitude!!) it's all just part of the ride!
Heck choosing happiness is not always easy, nor will it just stick around once ya got it sorted. Happiness is a life-long practice of making positive choices that promote inner joy not-related to anything external, and hey if you are choosing each day to be happier then you are going to be living a life full of happiness!!
All images are from Pinterest, sadly with out original author credit. If you know who did them I'd be happy to add it here.