Wednesday, May 16, 2012


A few weeks ago, my yoga teacher introduced a word to our class, Aparigraha.  It is a sanskrit word that means non-possesiveness or non-clinging.  It is also one of Yamas or Codes of Restraint which you could liken to the commandment thou shalt not covet.  Aparigraha adds another dimension to the concept of not-coveting which is a kin to the Buddhist ideal of non-attachment.  Aparigraha means letting go of the things we are holding on to.

The appearance of this word at this time in my life is certainly no accident.  With all of the major life changes that are happening to me now, there are many things that I must let go of in order to embrace the life that is waiting for me.  For me, aparigraha means letting go of a home that I love, full of memories of my children when they were small.  Letting go of the idea of what I thought my life would look like.  As I pack to move, aparigraha is my mantra as I size up what to keep and what to give away.  It is the word that I repeat as I give away books that are like old friends that have moved with me from the city to the suburbs, toys, holiday decorations, craft supplies, unworn clothes, unused electronics, all the "stuff", all the clutter.

In Feng Shui clutter is an important issue.  Clutter in a home is like a blockage or a stagnation.  In Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture is employed to open up blockages or stagnation so the life force or chi can circulate unimpeded throughout the body.  Clutter in your home is like a blocked artery in your body - blood is a life force and when blocked can cause serious illness like heart attacks or strokes.  Clutter, even in your closets, can affect your life and can affect your health.

If we hold on to the things that no longer serve us then there is no room for anything new to come into our lives.  By letting go of so many things I am creating an open space ready to receive new things and experiences.  Explore what the word Aparigraha means for you and ask yourself what you can let go of - you may be surprised to see what happens!