Our topic this month is aparigraha, which translates from Sanskrit as non-grasping. It reminds us to loosen the death grip with which we sometimes hold ideas, people, and ways of being. For this to be helpful, it's important to take a look at that which we may be holding too tightly, which is often the things we care about most. Or fear losing most. Why would we not hold on tightly?
This concept, aparigraha, suggests that there is something to gain by loosening it up some. It doesn't tell us to let go entirely, to not care about what we care about, but that allowing some space and some wiggle room can ultimately allow for more connection.
This concept could have potential in how we approach social justice advocacy, or in any area that we are trying to increase understanding between people. When we come from a place of holding so-tightly to our own perspective or "side," we can create deeper divisions and resentments. When we think we know how others should think and behave it makes it difficult for communication based on mutual understanding to emerge. Often when we dig in, the other party digs in more deeply as well.
Much like when navigating the parenting of a teenager who wants more freedom. We may want them to simply be safe. But that may not be their goal at all. They may want to explore things that specifically feel risky. And the more tightly we try to grip them into safety, the more they delve into the risky.
Or even in the creative process, when we hold onto the ways we've always done something, it may not allow for something totally new, fresh and inspired to emerge.
Familiarity and continuity are important, of course. But sometimes, when we find that fear has taken over the controls, the solution may lie in loosening our grip, and seeing what new, yet unseen way might emerge.
We'd love to have you explore this concept while practicing yoga with us! We discuss our topic of the month as the beginning of each class. Check out our schedule here: