Aparigraha – non hoarding / proper flow of the life force
This next yama is given slightly out of sequence with the traditional order as I consider it to go hand in hand with brahmacarya from the energetic nadi perspective. Aparigraha is traditionally translated and interpreted as non-hoarding. There is that aspect of it, not to hoard or keep possessions, to live a simpler life. However, there is a more profound aspect to this yama, and that is to not hoard internally. Hoarding implies storing and keeping things, many of which we do not need. When we look at ourselves with the light of satya/truth in a very sincere way, we see all of those dark areas of ourselves where we have been holding things. Holding some past secret, some dark memory. We hold traumas, tensions, things that have been stored for years, even decades.
The lack of aparigraha is even more than just hoarding. It implies that when something came in, we did not process it completely or fully. We did not digest it fully. We just stored it away somewhere for later. How many times do we take in food, media, sensory experiences out of some greed or desire, not even taking the time to process it before we are on to the next thing? This is how modern society functions, getting drunk on experience which leaves it only hungry for more. We are obese not only with food but with sensory overload, with sex, with media, with thrill seeking.
The symptoms of lack of aparigraha are lethargy, anxiety, depression, and more. Aparigraha involves not only hoarding but the desire to fill something in ourselves that cannot be sated. The inability to fulfill this constant desire leads to suffering. And because the wheel of desire moves us so rapidly in this attempt at fulfillment we only store more and more and don’t know how to let go of what we have taken in.
What are we seeking? What hunger are we trying to fill? To understand our desire and why we have it is a very important topic and one we will come to later on. Even beginning to take a look at these questions however will cause us to start to have some understanding though at how we violate ourself through the lack of aparigraha.
Taken together, brahmacarya and aparigraha deal with the boundary of the nadis. They deal with the interface between ourself and the external world. Brahmacarya checks what goes out. Aparigraha checks what comes in. If we have a proper balance with these two yamas we will have more balance in our energetic life. If too much goes out we are depleted. If too much stays in, we become full and energetically unstable. Like any system in life, there needs to be balance. These two yamas help us to find that balance and need to work hand in hand. The yama of satya helps us to discern what is required here. Satya also helps us to slow down if needed, properly digest what comes in, to not take in more than we need. To not expend more than we should. Balance is ultimately what is required to keep these inititial yamas in check.