Do we need to live without any possessions to reach enlightenment or to be spiritual? I think not. It’s more about having what we need and not taking more than our share.
When we are little, we learn that we need to share. Patanjali explains to us in YS 2.39 अपरिग्रहस्थैर्ये जन्मकथंत संभोधः aparigrahasthairye janmakathamta sambodhah. “One who is not greedy is secure. He has time to think deeply. His understanding of himself is complete,” translated by TKV Desikachar.
Does this mean that we can’t have nice, pretty or expensive things? No. Alistair Shearer says, “When we are established in nonattachment, the nature and purpose of existence is understood.” We can have what we need and want, whether it’s a relationship, a car or a job, yet we need to remain unattached to possessing it.
When a loved one passes, we are sad, hurt, and angry, but we go on. When our car is in a wreck, we get it repaired. When the job changes, we change with it or we move on.
Aparigraha- non-attachment, non-greediness, non-covetousness, generosity
If we can remained unattached to our possessions, only gather what we need, and share with others our bounty, we will begin to understand ourselves, our nature, our purpose and our connection to the universe.
What can you let go of in your life? Maybe clean out a closet and donate what you don’t use. Do you give when the urge arises or when you see a need? As a family we make regular donations. I still have places where I don’t want to share.
Recently when visiting my sister, she pointed out that I wasn’t sharing my favorite crackers with the kids. While I was embarrassed to be confronted, she was right. I always tell my children to share, and I need to practice what I preach.
Where can you make a change?