Non-hoarding doesn’t get much attention in current Western Society unless it becomes newsworthy. We look at those who have taken hoarding to the extreme on our newsfeed, tut-tut, and perhaps feel incapable of understanding why people would live in such conditions. Yet we are encouraged to spend and acquire, accumulate possessions as if this are a measure of our success. Even if it means borrowing and running on credit. Massive debt causes economies to collapse and the pendulum swings the other way, where people are afraid of loss and hoard jealously. Some of us who have parents or grandparents who lived through the Great Depression may be familiar with the phrase, “don’t throw that out, it might come in handy!”
Aparigraha is the fifth recommendation by the yogis for a happy life. It is the Yama of not cluttering…non-greed, not desiring more than we need. It asks us to consider our possessions with regularly renewing attention so we can investigate “Do I still need or wish to use this? What can I let go of? Could someone else put this to better use?
Practising aparighraha reduces fear of loss. When we question our happiness depending on how much we own, a trust in our own power of maintaining what we truly need starts to develop.
As well as material possessions, it’s easy to have a fondness for one’s opinions about certain things and people. Just like our possessions, these attitudes may have been very useful when we acquired them at the time, but holding on to them as a guide for life now (which is now different) may severely limit you. By letting go of restrictive standpoints we create a more spacious and truly rich life.