Today we are going to explore the Yama Aparigraha or non-possessiveness / non-attachment. Yamas are guidelines to help people find peace.
It has been a rough few months. After successfully fostering and releasing two dogs, my family “foster failed” the third dog they helped. His name is Jake.
Jake is a one-year old lab / hound mix who weighs 46 pounds. I am a nine-year old Shih Tzu who weighs 18 pounds. Jake wants to play all the time and has trouble calming down. I want to sleep all the time and have trouble jumping onto the couch. We are very different.
I was the king of this castle before Jake came. My family used to give me all their attention. Now I have to fight with “Mr. Spunky and Cheerful” for their affection. And sometimes my family gravitates toward him – rather than me.
When that happens I sulk and hide in the corner. My family does carry me back to the center of things - but it is hard for me to share the limelight with Jake. I really miss being the only dog – especially since the new one has stolen my owners’ love, my favorite chair, and sometimes even my food.
But Jake doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. And turns out, he desperately needs my help and guidance. For example, when we are playing in the backyard, he doesn’t understand that going into the house means - we get treats. Oblivious to this, Jake keeps running around the yard - even though there are seriously good snacks to be had. To help I bark “For goodness sake come in you silly dog – there are treats!” He eventually listens – to everyone’s benefit.
And though I am not as young and spunky as Jake, my calm quiet energy can be useful. Recently, we had a houseguest who was recovering from surgery. Because I am peaceful and able to sit for long periods of time, I was able to lay by him and keep him company. I heard him tell my family how comforting it was to have me nearby. It felt so good to be appreciated.
Finally, I have noticed that even though I don’t seek out Jake, he tries to snuggle up to me for support (see below). This is endearing – in a “giant fool who steals my thunder” kind of way. It almost makes up for the times when he isn’t so charming.
So, letting go of my attachment to being the top dog to let in this large energetic abandoned pup hasn’t been so bad. And because of Jake, I have discovered that I am appreciated, needed and loved – even though I am smaller, older and lacking in spunkiness.
Are you attached to possessions, people or specific situations? How might observing the Yama of Aparigraha bring you more happiness and peace?
Yogi Bear is the friendly and wise mascot of Mini Change Yoga.