Saturday, November 24, 2012

Take only what is required for your maintenance:)

These past few weeks I've been exploring the 'yamas', or ethical conducts suggested by the great yoga master Patanjali, in the Yoga Sutras. Today I am taking a peek at the last one, 'Aparigraha' or greediness.  Right in time for the holidays, perfect timing…here is why:

Greediness is interpreted as an unsatisfied state of mind, a state of being where we are in constant search of  fulfillment, a constant craving and selfishly wanting. Have you ever noticed that when we ignore something we crave, we become greedy to others? We become unavailable, our mood shifts and all the sudden we are incapable of giving. Because we are stuck on this mad search to fulfill something  we are missing, be it a food, a person, an emotion…we block the flow of love from entering and exiting our systems. 

The opposite of 'Aparigraha' is 'Metta' lovingkindness, the ability to give and receive wholeheartedly. Being able to give entails receiving and accepting from a selfless place within.

There is this story about a man in the 18th century France, that spends his whole life trying to please the King. He is so obsessed with receiving the King's attention that he fails to see all the people around him that love, appreciate and look up to him. He dies young out of unhappiness and frustration, because the one person he gives attention to rejects him, therefore he believes he is alone, and unheard. The tragedy of this man's life lies in the fact that he was so blinded by wanting to please a person that was unavailable to him, he forgot to notice what he had around him. He was so projected into wanting, filling, craving attention from the wrong source, that he didn't have the time to appreciate and receive what was being given to him, and what he already had. He was investing his energy and love in the wrong place. 

When we give without receiving or vice versa we create imbalance. To not be greedy we must learn accept love and honor what we are given, rather then lamenting on what we don't or can't have. When we honor what's been given to us the exchange is complete, we feel balanced. 
If we do too much of one thing we end up being depleted. Love is the fuel of our soul, and its always available to all. It's a matter of opening our hearts, our inner vision, and seeing it staring at us in the face, rather then going to look for it where its unavailable. When we are greedy we only think of what we need in order to feel fulfilled, whatever that may be, and we forget that all we need resides within us.

When I practice or teach yoga, I'll sometimes notice someone doing an asana I haven't yet explored and I  start acknowledging how my mind grips to that. A voice inside wishers to me"Bibi you have to learn that, then you can be proud of yourself". So then my whole practice I'm waiting for the moment to practice that one asana. I forget that each asana leading to it is an opportunity to get stronger, which overtime will help me achieve that other amazing asana.
What I'm trying to say is that most of the time, what we are wanting/needing is right in front of us, and we don't need to take anything away from anyone in order to achieve it, we just need to settle back, and from within look out into the world, see what we do have, and act form that!

As the holidays approach and the gift madness begins, see if you can remind yourself of this:
What do I have to offer that might be more at reach then an expensive gift? 
Where am I giving from? Is it out of a selfish purpose or is it a selfless giving?
Can I sit back and receive with full joy, honor what is been offered?

"Hoarding wealth without sharing it is sheer selfishness and points to a complete lack of sympathy for the plight of others" Edwin Bryant

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