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Aparigraha

Monday, November 18, 2013

This week in yoga, we were concentrating on Aparigraha, one of the yamas that are one of the 8 limbs of yoga. A yama is a set of moral codes. This first yama is non-violence. This one refers to non-hoarding.

What does this have to do with eating or food? This is a very rich word. It also refers to only taking what you need. For instance, when I lived alone I decided that I really didn't need to be living in a 2 bedroom apartment, a single bedroom or even a studio would do just fine. Taken to an extreme, it can mean to eschew all material possessions. But we need some material possessions for comfort. I need a place to sit, a table at which to eat, a bed to sleep in. They don't need to be grand - having a brand new expensive beautiful dresser doesn't hold my clothes any better than a used one does. And neither the new nor the old make me a better person. They are just things and things can be destroyed, taken or lost.

Applying this philosophy to food, though, means that I eat no more than I need to maintain my body. It means that I don't hoard my food, whether in my cupboards by over buying or in my body by binging. This is where I am putting my meditation today. What can I release in order to make room for something better? Today, I release my obsession with food in order to make room for more peace. I release my greediness when it comes to food. Today, I will take no more than I need.

This is a difficult thing for me. I do okay with it when it comes to material possessions. STUFF doesn't mean a lot to me. But with food? That is a completely different story. I come from a large family of origin. If we didn't move quickly, we didn't get whatever it was we were trying for. As a result, we all learned to eat a lot and eat it fast because it would be gone if we didn't. However, I am no longer a child. If we run out of something, I can buy more. They will make more. I don't have to shove it all into my mouth now before I lose out on the chance. As an adult, I don't need to be governed by my physical desires. I can be governed by my physical needs, but not my desires. The two are not the same.

So today I am practicing Aparigraha. I will take no more than I need.
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