I’ve spent the past two Sundays clearing out… closets and cabinets and basement shelves.  Yeeesh.  I like to think I keep tabs on what comes in and when it’s time to let things go but still am astonished at how much we manage to accumulate. 

This experience got me reflecting on one of the yamas (restraints) of yoga practice – aparigraha.  Aparigraha translates to “freedom from greed” and can be thought of as a practice of taking only what we need. In this way, aparigraha relates to another yama – asteya which means non-stealing.  I noticed that I was, in effect, stealing time from myself as a function of the time needed to maintain all these…things. 

The reflection came as a timely reminder to be purposeful about what I take in and to truly appreciate, use, and share what I have. 

Aparigraha is a practice that can clear the way for enjoyment and an acknowledgment of what brings meaning and reveals wholeness in our lives, especially in a society that prizes what people have. Contemplation on the idea of “freedom from greed” can help you to differentiate when you want something because of jealously, or other superficial reaction,  or if you want something as an internal impulse that will lend fullness to your life. 

~ An inquiry practice:

What am I holding?

How is it holding me?

~ Neti Neti practice as described by Indu Arora:

“Isn’t it wishful thinking that we can say, “thoughts, thoughts go away, come again another day…..” You know that feeling when you are bombarded with countless thoughts and ideas? Every idea is not worth ideating and every thought is not worth ruminating.

I often do the practice of Shavasana with Vedic analysis method of neti neti as stated in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.

Neti Neti means “not this, not this.” It is a method of negation of the unnecessary to reach the ultimate state of relaxation. What is the point of wisdom texts if we do not learn how to utilize their teachings in everyday life?

Neti  Neti your thoughts one at a time. It is almost as if you are pressing “delete” on the screen of your mind until all the unnecessary files are gone. What a relief!

It does not mean that the thoughts will go away forever, but it will allow you space to deal with them when you wish and not bombard you like an uninvited guest!”

I look forward to hearing from you about which  of these practices you tried and if they were useful to you in leading to a greater understanding of why you hold on. 
Does your mind feel de-cluttered?