Monday, May 30, 2011

Things I Don't Need

I struggle with even putting this into words.

We're working on this teaching in yoga called aparigraha. It means non-grasping. In its simplest form it's about letting go of worldly possessions. That new purse I don't need, the shoes that won't actually change my life, the table cloth, vase, toys for the kids that won't bring me happiness or inner peace but will simply serve to clutter my life.

Aparigraha is about the belief that objects can bring you happiness. Shiny new toys will not make me better or happier in any meaningful way. But my hobbies make me happy. I love yoga and I have a really great mat to practice on. Is that wrong? Making things with my hands- making art- brings me joy, it's about the process as much as it is the product. That doesn't feel wrong to me. I'm getting ready to throw a big birthday bash; I think it's okay to get ready for the event.

I need to find balance with this. I shouldn't feel guilty for the occasional craft here and there, or my new camera (birthday gift) or my new iPad (also a birthday gift). These things help me take better pictures of my kids and read blogs and articles about my interests. The items themselves don't bring me joy, but what they do makes me happy.

With the exception of food and basic toiletry supplies I can't think of anything I covet right now. I'm going to try to buy only the things I need and only the things my family needs and leave everything else behind. No impulse purchases (because in all honesty they just make me feel guilty in the end). No more extras falling into my cart at the grocery store. No more inventing an errand to run just so I can get out of the house.

I want to try this experiment where I only take what I need (what my family needs) and no more. I don't know what it will mean. I have no idea what challenges will come up along the way, but I'm going to explore this Yama and see what happens!


Heather said...

I know how you feel. I think when we have things that we love what they do for us, it's OK to like them, it's just a balance to ensure that it doesn't become all out always coveting more material items.

Emily said...

Yes! Keeping up with the Jones's is totally fruitless.