Welcome to Fall. The time of the year where the leaves change color, releasing from the trees, and the world begins to let go in preparation of the new arrivals that will shine forth after winter’s tender caress.
It is a great time to talk about the Yogic Yama (restraint) Aparigraha. Aparigraha is a very powerful Sanskrit term meaning greedlessness or non-grasping. Aparigraha is the idea of not being attached to the things in your life or the expectation of the consequences of an action.
In the autumn, the earth is very clearly in a powerful state of Aparigraha. It is making room for what will later blossom without expectation or fear. The trees let go of their leaves without really knowing that new leaves will appear. The birds abandon their homes to find more appropriate shelter. This is a great lesson that can teach us to take the time to examine what is serving us and what we are attached to. In releasing these attachments we can make room for other things in our lives to blossom.
Like all practices this can look simple or complex. It can be as basic as embracing the idea that when you are sitting on your cushion you are practicing letting go of attachment to your thoughts. Perhaps it takes shape when you are switching clothes from summer to winter, letting go of the clothes that you no longer wear, or that no longer fit, to make room for something new. Maybe it’s bigger? Perhaps you find yourself in a place in life where you are holding on to a job, a love or a belief that doesn’t serve you in fear of the unknown that lies beyond really letting go. Until we discover this idea of non-attachment we may be preventing our lives from really having the room to manifest what is truly meant for us.
Take a look around yourself. What is important? What is just holding space until something else comes along? What is serving you and what isn’t? What is there, just to make you feel safe? Think about something you would never dream letting go of and then think about how it would feel if you did.
We live lives that are so full of stuff, all the things we think we need and all the things that we think we need to do. In doing this we’ve stopped leaving room for ourselves. When we take a good deep look at what we really need, the things in our environment that really sustain us we make room. It’s as simple as doing little things like bringing those old books to the library or clothes to a donation center. When you let go of the jobs that don’t sustain you and the ideas that don’t serve you, you are free to let new things come into life.
This is your opportunity, as you come into this change of season, to look around and let something go that is no longer serving you. It can be big or small but really let it go and see what comes up for you. Remember in meditation you are practicing on the cushion what you want to practice in life. Every moment is a chance to practice non-attachment with the mind. To let the thoughts just pass by without holding on to them, making room for yourself.