Contentment & Aparigraha

(Sharing by Huiling Yeo as part of the 30hr Discovery Programme)

Aparigraha is the concept of non-covetousness and non-greediness, to be free of desire.

Yet everyday I am being told to live my life to the fullest, to strive to be better, to be the best version of myself. How can I achieve the best version of myself if I have no desire? Is it even possible to be completely free of desire??

So many doubts and questions …

Personally, this is the hardest yama to comprehend for me. But here’s how I choose to interpret APARIGRAHA and it’s application to my life on and off the mat.

APARIGRAHA to me is knowing how to be contented and thankful for what I have in the present.

On my path to be better, i sometimes find myself feeling disappointment, upset and anger towards myself, especially if I don’t get the end result that I desire. There are also moments when I compare myself to others and the desire for more never ends, i find myself wanting more each time.

For example, in my current job. Being the youngest in the company, naturally I am the most junior with the least experience, but that has never deterred me from working hard and going beyond my job to be of greater value to my company. I got my first promotion pretty quickly and you would think that I would be satisfied. But NO, I wanted MORE.

I started comparing myself to my seniors, wondering why are they earning more then me when we do the same job. The negativity and resentment took a toll on me both professionally and personally.

Applying APARIGRAHA in this situation would be to take a step back and to remind myself of what I already have – a job, wonderful colleagues and a great boss who gives me opportunities to grow. By being thankful and contented, I was able to get rid of the negativity in my head (greed) and surround myself with positive thoughts, which in turn translates to better outcomes in and outside of work.

It’s a conscious effort to remind myself to be contented everyday, by doing so, I hope to be able to see life as a journey and not as an end goal.

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