In Yoga Philosophy, the concept of Aparigraha, translates as ‘non-greed’, ‘non-possessiveness’, and ‘non-attachment’. When applied to our finances, this principle teaches us to take only what we need, keep only what serves us in the moment, and to let go when the time is right.
To me, Aparigrapha in application can be explained through conscious consumerism. How many clothes do you have in your cupboard that you know you won’t ever wear again, but they’re still hanging in there just in case? How many gadgets, ornaments, books and shoes do you have that you don’t really need and that are just taking up more space. How many things have we upgraded only because we wanted the latest, newest or coolest replacement?
Aparigraha can teach us that we may not need the new dress, those new shoes or the latest phone. We may not really need to buy that new cushion just because it goes with the new rug, and we definitely don’t need that new car just because it’s better than our neighbours car.
Many of us acquire things as a way to feel better about ourselves or through a sense of achievement. We fall trap to the 6,500 media and marketing messages we see daily via social media, tv, radio, print and media advertising. We believe in our ability to create happiness through the acquisition of MORE!
Spending money may make us happy for a while, but it doesn't last. It's not long before there is something new that we want and that will bring us a new sense of happiness! It's like a constant chase. Lasting happiness is not something that we can be purchased. Why, because it’s more a state of being. Happiness is an attitude.
If we lighten the load a little by either selling some of the things we don’t need, giving them to charity, or considering buying alternatives, then we can move towards a less cluttered life both in our homes and in our minds, save money in the process and do a favour by reducing our own environmental imprint through disposal and waste. Two sayings spring to mind - less is more.... and quality over quantity.
Mindful action/ reflection:
The next time you feel you need to buy something new, take a moment to think of why you need it so much - will it bring lasting happiness? Will it help you feel more successful? What is this adding (or subtracting) from your life?