Aparigraha, listed as 5th in Yama, Yoga Sutra, means non-possession of anything that gives suffering for someone and abstention from greed. In psychological terms, it means a state of non-attachment, non-craving and self-satisfaction.
It is seemingly hard to practice this in this modern world, where we are dominated by materialism. Aggravated by social media, we are trapped in a vicious cycle of “Pursuit of wealth – New creation of desires – Pursuit of more wealth”. Our individual happiness has become more and more dependent on external factors such as luxury lifestyle, significant public influence and so on. As a result, our attachment towards materialism has constrained us from achieving internal peace and happiness. The endless creation of temptations in this modern world has made us become impatient and feel easily unsatisfied. Without practice of Aparigraha, it is hard for us to reach a status of Santosha as mentioned in Niyama.
Other than materialistic aspect, Aparigraha also entails “detachment from the past”. It reminds me of a book called “The Courage to Be Disliked” written by Japanese writers, Fumitake Koga and Ichiro Kishimi. The book leverages on the psychologist, Alfred Adler’s theories, explaining how we are all free to determine our own future, regardless of our past experiences. One may believe that his current status is affected by his past trauma, which has shaped whoever he is now (this is under Freudian Psychology). However, Alder believes that we can change who we are at any given moment. This is the application of Aparigraha, which if we choose not to possess ourselves in the past trauma, we can direct ourselves to the way we want to head to.
To practise Aparigraha, we can start to pay attentions to the things that we have pinned our expectations on. Try to let go of these expectations and allow ourselves to live in the moment. Besides, we can also let go of physical things that we do not need. Try to clean out the clutter by getting rid of the things we do not need. Finally, hope we can free ourselves and let inner peace come with us.