Posts Tagged ‘aparigraha’



yoga with the dogs

yoga with the dogs



This is about giving up something that I didn’t want to let go of, and never thought I could — Gogo

Aparigraha, the fifth of the yamas, or ethical constraints, is defined as abstaining from greed (Patanjali’s Yoga sutras). In the Tree of Yoga, Iyengar calls it “freedom from hoarding or collecting, absence of greed, and of possessions beyond one’s need.” Sometimes aparigraha is defined as non-attachment.  In buddhism, it’s acknowledged that attachment is the root, and the cause of suffering.

We hoard stuff. We also hoard friendships, or people, or even pets. Suffering enters in when we fear losing what we think is ours. 

When I found Gogo and his brother on a one-lane road in the hills of Rincon, Puerto Rico, I intended to find homes for them. But then I fell in love with them, and didn’t want to give them up — even though I knew that giving them up meant I could rescue more dogs. Part of that holding onto them was a fear of losing them and the joy they gave me. Also, there was probably a bit of believing that no one could love them as much as I could, or take care of them as well as I could.

We had a crazy bond. I used to say that if I could marry him, I would. I loved him more than anything in my life. He opened me up to love, after a long drought. But then my attachment to him started causing pain. I fell in love with a human, and Gogo was threatened. He bit my boyfriend’s kids. He was trying to dominate me, and usually did. (You can see the way he’s sitting on me in the photo above). Long story short, I didn’t think I could survive giving him up, but I did. 

It’s odd to know he’s out there, in a new home, with a new mom, and still feel the same love for him. He doesn’t have to be mine for that love to exist. And his new mom, who just lost her last dog, is so happy to have him.  

Aparigraha can be defined in other terms as well.  Nischala Joy Devi, going beyond defining something by what it’s not, calls it “acknowledging abundance.”

“Aparigraha gives us the secret to earthly life. Take a moment to feel gratitude for the great blessings that surround you… Even when you acknowledge the bounty, is there still a lingering apprehension that part or all of it may be taken away? That the well might run dry? Just thinking that a resource is limited initiates fear, thereby lessening the joy in the present moment.”

Change is constant. It’s scary. I think practicing aparigraha can help us survive change without experiencing too much pain. 

From the Bhagavad-Gita: “What is it that you lost that you are grieving for? What is it that you brought into this world that you have lost? Whatever you gained, you gained from this world. Whatever you lost, you lost to this world. What belongs to you today, belonged to someone else yesterday and will belong to someone else tomorrow.”






Read Full Post »