Aparigraha: A Path to Freedom through Minimalism

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By Derek Peters Tree House Staff

According to Webster’s dictionary, minimalism is “a style or technique that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity.” In other words, minimalism is about getting rid of the stuff that you don’t need,. it’s about living a simpler life. This type of life can be a simple one if we let it. Why stress over the small stuff? In all honesty all we need is to be well fed, have a roof over heads, and have people who genuinely care about us. I’m sure you can think of many other things that you enjoy, and I can too. But, it’s that chase, the chase for more, and the dissatisfaction with the things we already have that causes stress in our lives. Your mind might tell you “I need this because… or, I need that because my friend has one …” does this sound familiar? If so, I have an antidote and it’s called Aparigraha which is one of the Five Yama’s also known as “the don’ts or restraints” in Yoga philosophy. The Word Aparigraha is often translated to non-greed, non-possessiveness and non-attachment. This Yama is not just referring to material possessions but to everything and all facets of our lives.

Let your concern be with the action alone, and never with the fruits of action. Do not let the results of your action be your motive, and do not be attached to inaction – Krishna

This practice of learning how to live with less has given me the ability to notice how much unwanted stress, anxiety, worry, and fear come from holding on to large amounts of material possessions. Sometimes the thought of what happens if my things go missing, get stolen, or break… Ahhhh!!!! The worry starts peaking in. What a waste of energy this is!

These are some ways that I have found helpful to lightening my load.
  • If I haven’t used it in at least 6 months, Don’t need it!
  • If I have more than one of the same thing or same looking thing. Only need one!
  • Went through my drawers and closets if it doesn’t fit, or i will not wear it anymore – donate it!
  • If it works – why buy another!

See… It isn’t too hard! You can do this too, and it all starts with a simple decision. Follow me if you want to live a less stressful life. How do you want to live your life?

Tree House Recovery is a men’s treatment program located in Portland, Oregon. Creating sustainable recovery through sustainable change, our programs help men learn how to live sober with adventurous lives. Call us today for information: (503) 850-2474