Aparigraha in a World of Excess

The world now is overproducing and overconsuming. It is on an overdrive that has dire consequences on the environment. We only need to look at our possessions.

– Are they functional or of emotional value?
– Were they bought in impulse?
– Were they bought because they were on sale?
– Do we really need twenty pairs of yoga pants or thirty T-shirts?
– Do we need to eat buffets of so much excess, only to find ourselves eating too much and straining our digestive system?
– Do we need two fridges to store food stuff that are bought in the hope that we will cook them someday because we all aspire to be good in everything, including cooking.
– Do we need to sleep in air conditioned room every night, just so we can cuddle in a comforter, feeling warm and fuzzy?
– Do we surround ourselves with so many people to derive as many emotions, just so we can feel good about ourselves and feel alive?

Aparigraha is the last yama in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. It means greedlessness and non-grasping. In practice, this means taking what is necessary and no more than that.

In today’s world of abundance, and facilitated by the warped notion of value brought about by “money,” it is easy to find “cheap” things and be tempted to just buy them whether one needs it or not. These excesses, if one should think about it, are borrowed from our future. If this continues, one would be worried for the kind of world our children will inherit.

So ground ourselves, practise aparigraha and experience the freedom brought by this newfound sense of non-attachment.

Neo Chee Peng
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