To promote inner peace and reduce stress, it is beneficial to traverse life’s journey by accepting what comes our way with non-attachment.
Aparigraha (Sanskrit for non-attachment) is one of the central teachings in the Yogic text the Bhagavad Gita, in which Krishna shares an important teaching: ‘Let your concern be with action alone, and never with the fruits of action. Do not let the results of action be your motive, and do not be attached to inaction’. What Krishna is essentially saying here, is that we should never concern ourselves with the outcome of a situation, we should only concern ourselves with what we are actually doing right now as we work towards that outcome. Be in the moment. We linger in the past and worry about the future but truly the present moment is all we have.
Here is one of my favorite Taoist short stories, illustrating how unpredictable life can be, and the application of the practice of non-attachment:
There was a farmer whose horse ran away. That evening the neighbors gathered to commiserate with him since this was such bad luck. In response, he said, “Maybe.” The next day the horse returned, but brought with it six wild horses, and the neighbors came exclaiming at his good fortune. He said, “Maybe.” And then, the following day, his son tried to saddle and ride one of the wild horses, was thrown, and broke his leg.
Again, the neighbors came to offer their sympathy for the farmer’s misfortune. He said, “Maybe.” The day after that, conscription officers came to the village to seize young men for the army, but because of his broken leg the farmer’s son was rejected. When the neighbors came in to say how fortunately everything had turned out, the farmer said, “Maybe.”
Things happen in our life and we can either choose to resent, resist or accept. Accepting what comes our way does not mean giving up, it means recalibrating and pivoting into another direction that may be more suitable for us. We do not know all that is planned for us. We must keep moving in the direction we want to go. We may have a plan, but most of the time it will not go exactly the way we thought. Flexibility is vital because change is inevitable. Nothing stays the same. If this past year has taught us anything, it is that we cannot control everything. So, the best thing that I have learned, is to do what we can every day, with compassion, to move in the direction we want. Build up reserves in our physical, mental, and spiritual health and well-being so that we will have the resilience and strength we need when we need it.
Yoga and Meditation are excellent ways to build resilience, strength and self-compassion. It helps us be less reactive to situations and fortifies the ability to pause. In this way, we are better able to make decisions and take actions that are for our highest good and the good of others. The better you feel, the clearer your mind is and the more open and loving your heart is. This makes it easier for you to be more positive, focused, and compassionate with yourself and others.
Loving Kindness Meditation is a wonderful way to promote loving and calm heart. Here is a link for you to practice. You will find the audio recording at the bottom of the web page.
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
May all beings everywhere be happy and free,
and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life
contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.
Fabienne Grossman, RD, LD, E-RYT
Providing individual and group instruction to empowering individuals to learn and use the powerful healing tools of yoga, Ayurveda, nutrition and meditation into everyday life to optimize health, vitality and well-being.