Updated: Feb 24, 2021
I wonder how many of us wished away the end of 2019, willing 2020 to start...
I’ve been thinking about the teachings of this year.
I wonder how many of us wished away the end of 2019, willing 2020 to start: 'I can't wait to see the back of 2019, bring on 2020!', I love the ethos of a New Year, filled with hope and possibilities. But it got me thinking about wishing away the time we have, the grass being greener and the attachment we all have to certain things.
Aparigraha is one of my favourite limbs of the teaching of yoga(although I still can't pronounce it in Sanskrit). Within the practice, the eight limbs help us acknowledge the patterns of the mind, habits we may have in place that hold us back and the ways in which we relate to our environment.
As I practiced this morning with a lovely teacher online, she reminded me of this. It's something I often talk about during our Yin Yoga classes on a Tuesday night, how we feel about a pose, a like or dislike, an attachment or resistance to the shape we have put our body in.
This translates perfectly on to the year, we have been forced, whether we 'like' it or not, to practice Aparigraha: Non-attachment.
Now, I believe that unless you are a Monk, it is nearly impossible to practice this in its entirety. Most of us will have someone or some people we are attached to, and that's ok, that's what makes us human, loving & connecting.
However, attachment to things we may have started to rely on, can do us harm, eg: cause anxiety. 'What if that thing gets taken away from me?' the fear that is often produced from us relying on things. When we start to explore our relationships to our likes and dislikes we build a stronger sense of self-reliance. We are vessels of joy, we can rely on ourselves to cultivate our happiness and health. I'm not suggesting Ultra Independence is good(it is, in fact, a trauma response). But this unflappable peace that comes with knowing we have drawn on deep resources of the self, we haven't needed an external thing to make us feel 'happy' can be so powerful.
This year we have gone without, it has been incredibly challenging, there has been loss and grief. But we have also been hugely resilient on the whole, we have learnt a bit more about what truly matters to us, and for some the lockdown made us realise how much of the time we don't listen in, rushing from A to B and ignore the small, yet important, stuff.
Yesterday I watched a beautiful video of a huge choir of people from different ages and backgrounds sing together, the joy on their faces and the sound they produced brought me to tears. Oh, how I miss music, and people being together. This is true I am, if you will, attached to music, singing, performing, but I know I can go without. I've been forced to this year, I draw on the resources within that have developed over years of practicing yoga and meditation. I still have a long way to go, the journey never ends, but I just feel the lesson of Aparigraha is a blessing.
Thank you for making it this far through my Monday musings, maybe on this day you can take a gentle look at the things you feel you might rely upon, do this without judgement, but thinking about 'like' 'dislike' and distancing yourself from the attachment.
See you on the mat Echo Yogis,