Aparigraha has us ask the question: What is enough? Will we ever feel that we have and ARE enough and stop grabbing at things and trying to be “better” than others? Can we stop comparing? How?
As you go through your day are you constantly assessing your worth against what others have? You would not be alone. This is a common and dangerous cycle that simply has no ending. If we judge ourselves this way we will never be happy. It will always appear that someone has more or seems to have more money, power, beauty talents, etc, than we have. Envy and disappointment will stress us and cause illness and sadness inside.
What to do? How do we know how we are doing if we don’t look at how others are fairing? Is there another measure of our success? I believe there is. In fact, I believe our very ability to be satisfied is a true measure of success. Otherwise what do we want all these THINGS for except that we think they will make us finally satisfied. We get a new toy and for an instant there is happiness, but it is superficial at best. Days or weeks later the feeling is gone and we need something else to bring us that rush of joy and satisfaction. This cycle never ends. To find lasting happiness we must probe deeper. What is the acquisition of the object giving us? How can we find that feeling by going inside instead of looking to some outside source to fill the void? What is inside we know we can rely on. A car, a position, even a compliment may not always be available to us, but the beauty and truth inside is always there if we only look for it. Go there when you hear the mind chatter begin to become envious.
Say “I am enough” and press your thumb and pointer fingers together each time jealousy creeps up. In time you’ll create a new mental pattern.
Many people question how one can be satisfied with what they have and still keep the drive to do their best work. These are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they are separate topics all together. Your work is your dharma. If you are doing the work in life that you were sent here to do, whether that is baking cakes, cleaning floors, or counseling, you are on the right track. HOW you do is more important than WHAT you do. Again, HOW, over WHAT. Whatever your work is you should do it best you can and with out attachment to result, meaning you should not teach a certain way because you hope to be nominated Teacher of the Year. You should teach THE way that is the best way to teach your students the information at hand for the reason that it is the best way to convey said information, stepping away from the desire for recognition or reward. This is harder than it looks. It often seems to us that we want nothing in return and yet an unconscious desire is there that buds and bursts out years later as deep resentment. To avoid this we must do the great internal work of discovering our doubts and confronting why we feel we need outside recognition to feel we are valid. We must sit with the FEELINGS that come up and be with them, observing till they change or diffuse. There is no permanent change and release from the pain cycles until we go to the FEELING VIBRATIONAL level. That is why physical yoga practice (asana) is important. It releases tons of held emotion.
From Brahmacharya we get immeasurable strength. From aparigraha we come to understand the why and how of who we are. Aparigraha is non-possessiveness, non-attachment, non-hoarding. From taking nothing but what is necessary we are free to explore and realize the truth of our existence. Each object we own occupies a space in our minds. A new fancy object may take up lots of room. Acquiring a car brings with it the worry of a scratch on a city street. A new dress may fill our minds with thoughts of rips and stains. Was it the right car/dress to make the statement we desire? Should we have spent the money on something else? How will we care for our new item? What will others think? These are just some of the churnings that may occupy our minds after a new purchase. These and others pull us from deeper focuses such as life purpose and bonding with The Divine.
Coveting is endless and demonstrates an insatiability inside of us. We can counter it by recognizing our own unique internal beauty and by practicing gratefullness around what we’ve been given. After all, as we’re wishing we had another’s attributes, someone is out there envious over ours. Why not end the cycle and give thanks? They can see what is desirable in us. Let us turn inward and see it as well.
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