Aparigraha is the Yama (ethical discipline) teaching us non-attachment, non-possessiveness, letting go. Clutter takes up space, both physically and mentally. We practice the Asanas (physical postures of Yoga) to create space and freedom in the body. We practice Meditation to create space and freedom in the mind.
Letting go should be simple, but for most of us, it’s not. Like the breath, each moment should provide us with what we need in that instance and then leave us. We trust that the next breath will flow in, nourish, and leave. Then, why do we grasp and hang onto things, situations, emotions, others? We cling to memories, material items, and situations that provide us with an emotional connection. We hold onto these things hoping to continue that same emotional response, good or bad, because it’s familiar. But, the response is never exactly the same. This can lead to disappointment and frustration. Rather than clinging to the memory or item, recognize that the emotional aspect is the past and let go. Live in the present moment. Freedom comes from letting go; clinging to things creates issues of maintenance–trying to recreate that emotional state over and over and over again. This doesn’t mean not having memories or treasured possessions; rather, see them for the shape of their experience in bringing you to the present. Mary Oliver, in her poem The Cure, writes, “Wisdom is seeing the shape of your life without obliterating a single instant of it.”