I’ve posted before about aparigraha – the yama (ethical restraint) of non-coveting. This particular yama seems to speak to me a lot. Maybe that’s because I am more covety than most people? I’m not sure. But, in any case, I was thinking about it today and how it connects to other issues that I’ve talked about recently, including body emotions and pain.
It’s easy to understand how coveting is related to the objects in the world that we have or want. We all experience times of wanting the “stuff” that other people have, or that we don’t/can’t have. Heck, I just posted the other day about several things I’m wanting. But, it’s not just the stuff that we covet.
We also covet experiences that we might not have had, but we know others have. So, when a Facebook friend asked who had traveled out of the country and where, I found myself looking at my response and some of the others and thinking, “I want to travel to ____ and _______!”
And, we even may covet the bodies that others live. Having had some issues (understatement) with body image and eating, and now having chronic medical conditions, I know that there are times when I look at other people and wish that I could have a body more like what I think their body is like. It might be for a belly that is flatter, a chest that is less flat, hands that don’t shake, or joints that move easily, but in all of those cases, I’m wishing for what I don’t have, and not particularly appreciating what I do have. I’m losing the experience I’m living in my desire to be experiencing another. As I told the students in my yoga for chronic pain class last week, even if in pain or exhausted or not cooperating, the body is a miracle. It’s a wonder and it deserves to be appreciated for that.
I don’t always find myself coveting the unhad body, but it does happen, and I have to work to fight it off sometimes and to keep my focus on the body/experience that I’m in, instead of the many that I’m not. It’s a bit of an effort, but one that is worth it. So, I’ll keep trying!
A few blogs that I read that have addressed the issue of aparigraha (as related to the body) in one way or another:
Enjoy and love the physical form you have today!