Yoga Sutra 11,30 Aparigraha Part 2 - Non attachment to other people

The concept of non attachment to possessions is an easy one to understand, as difficult as it might be to follow.  That we should try not to be greedy, grasping, not to think our possessions define us, always be seeking more, whether that be more money, more skill in asana, more appreciation.  I wrote about this aspect of aparigraha here

Applying aparigraha or non attachment to our personal relationships is a more subtle and more difficult matter.  How can I be unattached to my children, my family, my partner, my animals?  Doesn't that seem inhuman in some way?  Doesn't that seem to be an attitude lacking in love?

But here is the thing: your capacity to love is not diminished by your capacity for non attachment.

Yoga practice leads us towards understanding that we are whole as we are, we were born whole, the practices that yoga teaches us lead us towards an understanding of that essential rightness.  It teaches us that there is nothing that we need that is outside of ourselves.  In our quietest and wisest moments, we know that this is true - it is not that which we own, or those that we know that make us who we are; it is our own self, as it is, with all its gifts and shortcomings.

Further, yoga teaches us that love is our birthright; that love is not something that we seek outside of ourselves, or that we have to do something to get.  True love is in us all along; we are love.

So, we are whole and we are love.  I am and so are you.  So are your children, so is your partner, so are we all.

Non attachment in personal relationships looks like knowing that you are whole on your own and not relying on other people for a sense of who you are; not looking to others to give you the love that crave, since that love lives within you already.

Non attachment to other people means allowing them their own mistakes and missteps as you received yours, knowing how much is learnt from the times that things go wrong, knowing that wisdom lies there.  This is a very difficult prospect and a very fine line to walk when you have children.

Non attachment to other people looks like the capacity to let them go when the time comes to let them go.

Look, no yoga practice is easy.  If you were looking for an easy answer, then you are looking in the wrong place.  Patanjali is very clear that you are at liberty to ignore his teachings, but if you do you will continue to suffer the pain of wrong headed thinking.

We don't own anything, we don't own anyone and nothing that anyone else can give us can change how we feel, not in the long term.

So, we seek non attachment to others, we try to understand that they are on their path, as you are on yours, and all that is left then is to love them, to love then with all that you have, to love them whoever they are.  And to allow them to tread their path as you must tread yours.


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