When people think of attachment, they generally think of material things. Attachment can also be extended to non-material things, such as ideas, relationships and even identity. However, there is a problem with attachment – it leads to suffering. This is because life is ever-changing and always evolving – the only constant is change. Therefore, while I may feel comfort when I stay with my attachment, it will bring me sorrow when it’s taken away from me against my will – which is likely to happen, given life’s nature of unpredictability and change. Another downside to attachment is that it limits personal growth.
Therefore, Aparigraha, which means non-attachment, is one of the five yamas described in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Other meanings of it include non-grasping or non-possessiveness, not accumulating, or accepting objects that are unnecessary in daily life.
To exemplify it – in the third week of YTTC, I found myself feeling sentimental and sad as the course is coming to an end. I realised that this was because I have grown attached to a few things, such as the routine of the course, my classmates and Sree, and the daily teaching of philosophy and spirituality which have been very comforting. However, it’s not practical for things to remain the same forever. That is why we are constantly urged to ‘move on’. Staying attached to something will also limit my growth, as I will either 1) miss out on opportunities for good change, or 2) live in the past and experience those opportunities with a closed mind.
In this case, I can’t be a yoga teacher-in-training forever. Moving forward in my life, whether to teach yoga or doing something else (while keeping the knowledge I have gained in this course) with an open and receiving mind is what will keep me growing.
Some may argue that conscious detachment to things will make me cold. To many of us, attachment forms the basis of relationships and love. However, it is important to note that detachment does not mean indifference or not loving. To me, the main points to take away from aparigraha is that 1) we need to let go of what no longer serves us or is no longer necessary to us 2) everything (the good and the bad) comes to an end, 3) acceptance of the ending of things.
A quote that has stayed with me for years sums this up beautifully “some things fall apart, for better things to come together”.