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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Living In The Material World; Aparigraha & Santosha -the 2 Lane Road to Freedom

Living In The Material World.....thank you George Harrison for a great song and your ideals. We exist in a world that is based on the material, the ephemeral, and pretty much the premise that the one with the most toys when they leave the playpen wins. Advertisers create campaigns that create want in us. Greed and consumerism are the tools.   But the slippery slope is that when we get that new whatever it is, it feels great for a while, bright and shiny like a new relationship. But after the candy floss wears off, we are left feeling dissatisfied and looking for more. We are set up to perpetually to seek contentment outside ourselves, wanting what is not within ourselves.  But practicing the relating concepts of Aparigraha and Santosh , these two Yogic observations or restraints, we can find the path to freedom from attachment to the material and find a place of peace within ourselves.
Aparigraha.....Non seeking of that which is not freely offered. Non coveting, or simply put-non greed! When we look for the external to satisfy us it is like putting a bandage on a wound, the hole is still there. External gratification may feel good, but when you remove it , one still needs to realize that you are still you, and being able to accept where and who you are without the glitter.
Santosha.....Being content with yourself, your situation, in the present time. Not so easy because of our conditioning to buy into the material world. Not so easy, because at times, it is ok to say "things suck for me right now!" But when you practice contentment , it is also the practice of acceptance, and when that exists the realization is that things are going to be ok.
Stripped down, unplugged, and naked before the mirror is where we need to find acceptance of who we are, realizing that we don't need the material excess or packaging to be who we are.  Being content with what we have and the universe offers up for us. Letting go of the external quest for happiness, be it through relationships, goods, food, substance abuse, or whatever it is brings the sometimes uncomfortable knowledge that we have to be happy with our naked self. Being content with our world as it is we can relinquish our daily struggle.
That doesn't mean you have to live the life of a renunciant, a beggar , or a hermit. But realization of having a roof over your head, food in your belly, clothes on your back can bring a sense of freedom.
Enjoy swimming in your own pond. Living in the material world, but not being of it is the highway to freedom.