“Live simply so others may simply live.” – Mahatma Gandhi
“Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy stuff we don’t need” – Chuck Palahniuk
Aparigraha literally means ‘non-grasping.’ It is also understood as non-possessiveness, non-greed, non-attachment. It is one of the five yamas.
The philosophy of aparigraha can be summed up as ‘take only what you need and leave the rest.’ Psychologically, this practice allows the seeker a higher level of freedom from dependence on physical things and mental desires. When we are in the habit of accumulating things, we end up using some of our life force to worry about, protect, and maintain that which we have. Furthermore, we also expend our life force planning how to accumulate more, and/or how to rank our accumulation with the accumulation of others. Essentially aparigraha encourages practitioners to keep our eyes, minds and hearts on the non-material priorities of life. Like the other yamas, the practice of aparigraha requires self-discipline. When implemented it can lead to increased mental freedom and peace.
Worries about having ‘enough friends,’ ‘enough lovers,’ ‘enough social status,’ ‘enough followers,’ ‘enough clothes,’ ‘enough travels’, etc. can also arise. Letting go of these concerns is considered aparigraha.
Ideas for practicing aparigraha:
In a yoga pose, accept your body’s limits
Reduce, reuse, recycle
Cut down on travel by car and airplane
Get rid of things you don’t need
Cut down on acquiring new items
Use your own re-usable water bottle. Use a re-usable coffee mug at coffee-shops.
When purchasing products, consider the containers they come in. Avoid plastic, especially non-recyclable plastic.
Think about the uneven distribution of resources in this country and in this world; do what you can to ‘live more simply, so that others may simply live.’
Journal prompts:
How is vanity connected to aparigraha? Give examples.
How does the practice of aparigraha benefit the one who is practicing?
How does the practice of aparigraha benefit others, besides the one who is practicing?
Do you think our consumption affects the lives of others on the planet, or do you think they are unrelated? Why or why not?
Disposable coffee cups are not recyclable! Estimate how many disposable coffee cups are used weekly on the LMU campus. Explain how you arrived at your estimate.

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