|[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 314 ]
This action of eliminating what is unnecessary is not really the main point of aparigraha, or non-posessiveness in yoga. It does not truly matter what one has in terms of social or material possessions. What is important is their attitude toward these things. One may be quite poor in material possessions, yet their desire to posses more is very strong. Conversely one may be exceedingly materially wealthy, yet be utterly unattached to their possessions.
Money (or material affluence) itself is NOT the root of all evil. Rather, the desire for it (money) and the attachment to it IS! Material possessions themselves are not an impediment if you are perfectly detached.
You must be fully aware of the place of those possessions in your life, however. The key is to have control upon things and not to allow yourself to be controlled by them through the desires that they may trigger within you. Therefore, we must always proceed with a lucid and objective analysis of the situation. Otherwise, our minds will sometimes try to trick us into justification -- into saying that we wish a thing for the sake of others or for some higher, loftier purpose, when in fact there is a deeper desire to satisfy our own lower, selfish urges.
It is obvious that this virtue of aparigraha is dependant solely on the cultivation of a mind which is free from attachments, which gives rise to the saying that "the wealthiest one is the one who is the poorest in desires." Is it possible to live within lavish wealth and luxury, and maintain no feeling of possessiveness toward any of
It's possible, but difficult for an average person. One is only firmly established in aparigraha, or non-possessiveness, if they also have the readiness, without even the slightest hesitation, to part with all that they have. Indeed much easier said than done!
Ironically, one cannot be assured that they have accomplished this completely detached state of mind unless they actually do give up all that they have, and in doing so, remain completely and utterly content. How many are willing to put themselves to that test?...
NOTE: This yoga article is an excerpt from The Science of Yoga, an online yoga training program with streaming yoga videos and 600 pages of step-by-step yoga instruction.
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