Listen to the reading on Non-Attachment….


Welcome back to this week’s readings from “The Secret of the Yamas- A Spiritual Guide to Yoga” by John McAfee.  This post explores the Yama – Aparigraha [ translates from Sanskrit to English meaning non-attachment].  Quoting directly from McAfee’s text: “…What is this individuality that we are so desperate to perpetuate?  Who is the “I” that seeks continuity? What exactly are we attempting to make immortal?  Invariably, the answer to these questions is the “I” of the past, the “I” created in memory by the process of thinking.  It is the fragment of thought that divides the world into Me and Not-Me, Mine and Not-Mine.  It is the ego.  The ego craves immortality, and it is the ego that creates our prisons of continuity through the mechanisms of attachment…”  

I used to always wonder why McAfee’s book only dealt with just the 5 Yamas and did not also include the 5 Niyamas…but I am finally getting it…there’s more than enough to contemplate here.  I will say I have read this little book at least 20 times now and I still am learning about myself and how difficult it is to “fix” these mechanisms of change onto my being.  Best wishes for your practice for living more consciously.  Namaste


231 responses »

  1. I think that I we are taught become attached to something, or someone, at a very young age. When we are babies it is usually a blanket or a pacifier that we use as a coping mechanism to feel safe and secure. And as we get older it usually switches to a person, typically a significant other that we can use to help us feel safe and secure. But in todays society there are also other things people become attached to that are also used as a “security blanket” of sorts. One very big one for some people is a cell phone. for example, I have a friend that is constantly on her phone. When I am with her it is sometimes hard to carry on a conversation with her. But once we become attached to something it is so hard to let it go. I think that having something to feel “attached” to is a good thing, to a certain extent. As long as this “something” doesn’t leave you unable to function in your daily life having this attachment is a good way to help one feel more secure about themselves.
    As for my IK, I have practiced it 2 times since last class and plan to do the IK at least 2 more times before the next class. I usually set aside time before going to bed and have found that, even with having a crazy hectic schedule, I have benefited so much from making sure to set aside this time every week. I find that after doing the practices I feel much more calm when I am going to sleep and find that it even helps me fall asleep faster and sleep much better than the nights that I do not do the IK. I think I might even change my usual 4 times a week to every week night because I do find that i get a much better rest after completing the IK.

  2. This audio clip spoke on reasoning behind why we attach to people and things. It is because we cling on to the idea of continuity. It is something we crave to feel secure and to keep out our fears. This is due to us creating a self constructed environment where we live in our made up illusions. In the audio clip it said, “We see nothing in life that is naturally permanent, we create an artificial environment.” This is due to wanting continuity that causes attachments. We long this continuity that we keep trying to make immoral. This is because life John said, “The ego craves immortality.” It is kind of true, we do crave to have things forever that is why we are so attached to everything. As humans we don’t understand that we have to accept life for every moment.

    In my personal experience, I use to be attached to my parents. As a kid I was very sheltered by both my parents. I felt like if I get into a negative situation, they would always be there to help me and protect me. But, as I continued to get older I figured out that, that was not the case. Since I was so attached to my parents, I thought that they had to be with me everywhere. When I started high school and was able to take the train to school, I wanted my parents to go with me. So, instead of taking the train I would ask my mom to drive me to school everyday. I grew so attached to my mom that I felt like I wanted her to be everywhere with me. I learned the hard way that parents can’t go or be there for every single thing. As months went by, my mom eventually grew tired of driving me. So, she made me take the train. I was afraid and would throw fits, but I eventually got use to the idea of being by myself.

    I am happy that she made me take the train because now I am very independent. I can go places now. I use to never know how to ride the train until I got to high school. I am now a college junior and an independent woman who just enjoys every single moment of life. Attachments lead to disappointments. Being alone also helps improve self awareness and letting go of the idea of attachment.

  3. When this reading talked about non attachment and how we do not know a lot about it I thought it was really interesting. We are inherently attached to things, but we do not know why. We need to fully understand why we are attached to things, before we can separate ourselves from attachment. We want to make ourselves continuous, and we want to share ourselves among the world. While doing this we feel that we need to attach ourselves to things and people in order to live in memory with that things or person. We feel that living in these memories and attaching ourselves to others will make us immortal, in some way or another.

    In my Isha Kriya I have been finding that I am generally more relaxed and I am able to cope with stress more easily. I went backpacking this weekend and while I was carrying a 25 pound pack, walking up hill, I found that I was able to control my breathing when the hike got hard, in order to keep pushing and continue on my hike.

  4. Name Tyler L.

    This excerpt form the secret life of the Yamas on Non-attachment was very interesting. It discusses how we need to achieve non-attachment in order to live a better life. We become attached to things that are more than just materials/objects such as our phones/computers/TVs etc. We can become attached to beliefs, addictions and can even be attached to personalities/Identities. It’s very hard to become unattached these things but McAfee does a great job by explaining how to learn to combat these attachments. I personally don’t think attachment is such a bad thing as long as whatever you are attached to, whether its materials or beliefs (religion or politics), doesn’t stop you from bettering yourself throughout the rest of your life.

    I have continued to practice my IK 4 times this week as I do every week at both my home on the weekends and at my dorm during the week. Making time for Ik has made me feel more relaxed, less tired and more focused.

  5. Nothing in life is naturally permanent. We create an artificial environment of attachments. As a child, I often struggled with the idea that objects carried memories. I could not get rid of things for fear that the happy memories they held within them would be lost. Although I feel that I’ve learned to let go in my more recent years, I still surround myself with far too many things. I love to shop when I feel depressed or anxious. It’s a great way to take your mind away from unhappy thoughts, but it drains my bank account and leaves me with even worse problems. I admire those who live simplistically but I don’t think I could ever do it. I’m in love with the excess, with clothes and with makeup. Trying to decrease the amount of objects I have has been a near-impossible feat. Something is always missing in my life and I always want more.
    The Isha Kriya has been very difficult for me lately. I’ve been very depressed and I seem to find that during meditation my mind clouds with too many things. The prolonged silence causes my head to fill up with many thoughts, thoughts that I’d like to escape from. I need to find a way to truly clear my head and meditate.

  6. The reading from the Secret of the Yamas discusses humans’ attachment to objects, ideas, and people in our environment. We are surrounded by a vast plane of living and inanimate objects. Our individual perceptions of what matters to us is driven by our desires to be close with things we come in contact with. It is much how one of the past readings spoke on desires to repeat past experiences. Our memories of certain sensations or feelings are associated with certain concepts stored in the mind. We seek to relive our pasts vicariously through our attachments.

    Humans for the most part are raised in group or community settings. They are surrounded by people with whom they form relationships. Though our relationships with people and objects may bring us great joy at times, they can also bring great pain. Our attachments are responsible for the emotional responses we have to the environment. To recognize that nothing in our environment was provided directly for the purpose of serving us as individuals is to remove oneself from the web of influence the things in our lives carry us upon. People, object, and ideas are subject to change and are not promised to us permanently. When they are gone we suffer great loss and pain. Surrendering our greed and relinquishing our domain over inanimate objects frees us from material obsession and willing participation in capitalist consumerism.

    Our economic system encourages a consumerist approach to our market. We are barraged with images, text, and video that encourages us to trade our money for high-tech devices, plastic toys, and mass-produced furniture. Many appliances are not built to last more than a couple years any more. By disengaging from consumerist culture, we take a step toward cementing our individuality and range of choices.

    Keeping up with the Isha Kriya practice allows me to detach from the daily tasks I must perform. Commuting, studying, interning, practicing, performing, and attending class takes quite a toll on me week to week. Because of my packed schedule, it is nice to take time out to focus on my body and wellness, while de-stressing from the day past.

  7. I like the approach John McAfee took to describe attachment and non-attachment. I once in while like to read those how to declutter your life articles and the emphasis is always on how to get rid of things rather than understanding the attachment portion. Attempting to declutter or let go of things without understanding why one is attached to things will only result in failure. I like to think that I’m not attached to materialistic objects but listening to this makes me realize how attached I really am. Also I never really thought about different forms of attachments besides materialistic objects but it really applies to anything in life. While it is important to reach non-attachment, it is more important to find the reason why one gets attached and understand entirely.

    This past week I was able to do the Isha Kriya the required time but I had a hard time really focussing on what I was doing. I have a deadline for my senior project so I have been working and spending all of my free time on it. I underhand that making time for myself is important and I’m hoping to get back on track once I have finished the work I need to do.

  8. I’m not sure I entirely agree with this view of non-attachment because I believe that being attached to our beliefs and ideas make us unique and being attached to the people that we love helps us form fulfilling bonds. However, I can appreciate the idea of not being too attached to material objects while still accepting that possessions are nessasary for a comfortable life. The idea of non-attachment reminds me a lot of the Isha Kryia chant “I am not this body, I am not even this mind.” This mantra helps to develop the thought process that allows us to see that we are part of bigger picture and gives us a wider perspective. I also find the paradox of non-attachment very interesting in that practing non-attachment can make one attached to the idea of non-attachment itself which shows how difficult a non-attachment mindset is to achieve. Although I don’t fully agree with non-attachment, I believe that incorporating some aspects of it into the way we think can give put many of our problems into perspective, something that I also find yoga in general very useful for.

    I have been trying now to practice the Isha Kryia everyday and this week I was able to practice five days. I usually have problems staying focused in class especially in the afternoons when I get busy and start to feel overwhelmed so, I have been practicing the Isha Kryia in the morning as part of my routine for getting ready for the day and I have found a lot of improved focus and clarity throughout the day because of it.

  9. This chapter related to a very prevalent and common topic that surfaces within our lives. It does not come forward once but several times through different passions and loves that we experience. It is often seen within relationships and evolves into a possession. It may also be seen through art and evolve as greed. These experiences are a painful truth that must be worked through. It is difficult to stay away from those tendencies. Although it is important to derail from these feelings it is also important to have a ground a place to belong. According to Walker Percy, Lost in the Cosmos, we need our common ground in order to have a purpose. If we belong to a group of scientists we belong to that community. We have created science as our truth. If we belong to a group of artists we belong to that community. We have created art as our truth. This goes forth for other subjects and actions we participate in. Because of the development of consciousness, it is crucial to create a truth. Without these truths, we have a tendency to feel meaningless. This can create a sort of depression or sadness within ourselves. So how do we find the balance between belonging without possessing. I believe in working through vulnerability and openness we can find a healthy balance. It is important to remain humble.

  10. The concept of becoming attached to the idea of non-attachment is very interesting to me. As I thought about it more, I realized that this almost paradoxical idea can be applied to the mythos and stories surrounding Gandhi. He is often praised for his lack of personal possessions. Often, his lack of a need for material items or satisfaction is cited as one of the main reasons he was so self-actualized. But the reality of the idea of non-attachment, is that the mental state of consciousness that Gandhi had achieved can be achieved by any person. Focusing on living without material things throws your mind into a state of attachment towards that lifestyle. The craving of this “continuity” of our selves is what ultimately drives us. Even Gandhi had a deep devotion to the political movement he led. So was he truly non-attached? I think so. It is all in the hands of the individual to seek out their own meaning of non-attachment within the boundaries of the circumstances of their existence.
    I spoke in class this week about using the IK in order to get out of panicked states, using it as a means to calm down and get out of a panic attack. I hope doing the IK more will help me with this, as panic is not something I want in my life. I at no point stated that panic attacks are normal in class, nor that they’re something that I am personally okay with, though I do understand your point about how our culture accepts them. I feel like this is more of a statement about our society rather than the individual, however; our youth culture has accepted panic attacks as being a part of existence because of the time and space we currently live in, which has never stressed the need for bodily health, relaxation and mental health the way that it stresses stress itself. People of our generation (millennials) specifically have been shown to be way more stressed than all previous generations overall, mostly due to the economic state we grew up in, as well as the country’s political state, and the rise of technology and social media, as stated by the American Psychological Association(1). (I will keep this in mind to speak about more in my future journals- for I think it’s important to really dig down and get to the bottom of WHY our generation has such a hard time coping with stress, but also, why it’s so important for us as a whole to be able to individually get through it all.)


    • Yes, my comments were directed towards your generation and not you or any one person. It’s true the Yama concepts are ideas we all can re-visit periodically to see how we have grown and changed as we continue to blossom, OM

  11. In this week’s section of our listening. “Secret of The Yamas” by John McAfee, the course material focused heavily on the influence of non attachment, or better yet greed. The underlying influence of greed is something that is deeply rooted within our physical traits and characteristics as humans. Throughout the reading, I was able to gain a clear understanding of the traditions we as individuals appear to hold up and dear to our chest can be the very things furthering us from adapting non-attachment. The feeling of longing and preserving is something natural, and we as people have grown fond of holding onto things, whether that be certain objects, people, careers, or i.e.

    I feel this listening did a good job at explaining the exact reason as to why we feel the need of holding onto such things. And through the listening, it is stated that we crave continuity. Continuity, which is “the unbroken and consistent existence or operation of something over a period of time,” is a perfect word to describe our emotional attachments as people, and the feeling of safety and security that is provided through these symbols on continuity. Thus clouding our ego with the sense of immortality, which gives us a false sense of security furthering us from the true goal of establishing non-attachment. And as McAfee expresses, the only way to achieve non-attachment is to discover the source of our fascination.

    In regards to me IK, I have done my IK four times since our last class, and still practice within my dorm room. Allowing time for IK has made me become more consciously aware of my posture. In addition, partaking in my IK allows for me to have a more, conscious mind throughout the course of my day. Letting me feel more observant and stress free in a typical stressful environment.

  12. I have to admit that this is an interesting reading to listen to. This can actually be applied to the world today. We are a society that is very attached to things like our phones and our televisions. People always have their faces glued to the screens that they no longer pay attention to the world around them. We feel safe and secure with them. They also make people think they are all powerful beings that can say or do whatever they want as we have seen with comments on Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter. Maybe people should take time to relax like when we practice the Ishe Kria. It can make you realize that it is not all about you and it can also help you relax and reduce your stress levels.

  13. I believe once again this topic of non-attachment is very subjective. It all depends on what we’re talking about. Most people nowadays indeed do have unhealthy attachments to certain things. The most recognizable being cell phones. Guilty as charged most people my age and younger do have attachment issues with their phone but, the real issue is it hurting anyone. Because what about a child and its mother would you dare say that’s an issue? I believe until whatever attachment is hurting you or someone else it’s a non-factor, to be honest. Yes, you can work on it but, is it really that big of a deal.
    On to my IK everything is going great, to be honest. I enjoy the time to myself. My breathing only continues to get better with each day that passes by and I’ve also been quite consistent with my practices so I’m loving it.

  14. I think that a lot of the teachings behind yoga and meditation revolve around living life only within what we need to survive and be spiritually enlightened. Everything else around us is a merely distraction or isn’t as important. And after being in class for a month and I half now, I understand the importance and value of this lifestyle. Today, with the advance of technology and media, human kind has become a lot more materialistic and short-sighted. We walk through our lives valuing things that don’t really better us or more enlightened because many of us were not taught that these things are important to our well being.

    I think it is especially important to teach children about meditation and yoga and the values that go along with it. Because future generations should have an understanding of how to not take too much from the world around them. This will go on to teaching them how to live better lives as well as take care of the planet we live on as a whole.

  15. I found this reading to be relevant and also very thought-provoking. Attachment and greed are some of the strongest roots from which the problems in our world today stem from. I think it is important to practice self-control and live within your means though it can be difficult to do so. I agree that complete isolation and no possessions is not the right answer to living a balanced life. It is part of human nature to desire some degree of interaction with others but it is also important to take time the time for yourself that you need to heal or replenish energy.

    I have learned in recent years that there is balance to be found when it comes to possessions. I was always told that money cannot buy you happiness and am learning now more than ever that acquiring more material goods is but only a temporary solution to a problem. It can only make you happy for a short time before you go back to feeling the same way you did before (almost like a drug). There are much better and effective solutions to balancing your life. The yoga practices help guide one to finding happiness an a much more permanent level.

    My Isha Kriya routine has not changed (still in bedroom, 3-4 times/week). I continue to feel good after completing it however, I have seen no changes for better or for worse. My thought is maybe I will bump it up to 4-5 times a week and see if that produces any changes.

  16. This excerpt from the secret of the yamas is dealing with attachment, non-attachment more specifically. I would say this is a key topic or ideal in today’s society. Everything is centered around time and things. We as people build attachments or dependencies on people and material things. This behavior could open the door to addiction as we already have the addictive personalities pre-programmed and installed through the media we consume and the agenda that is being pushed on us by external forces. To free oneself from this would be elating, as if it were a breathe of fresh air. The non dependency and non-attachment to things we once craved would free us and allow us to reach a higher level of being. In my personal life, i’ve had to release my attachments to individuals, because they were toxic and taxing relationships. I left many friends behind to that wanted to stay stationary, while i wanted to grow and explore. McAfee says that human beings have a fear of the unknown, because “attachment is rooted in our craving for continuity.”

    The isha kriya is going well for me as of recently. I am still consistently practicing when i can. My schedule has gotten increasingly more hectic as deadlines and midterms approach. I have taken on more responsibilities and have limited free time. But i am still attempting to practice at least 4 times a week. As i can’t practice during my usual or preferred times, i still manage to make some time for it.

    • Congrats on having the foresight to move on past relationships that were not healthy so that you may grow. Proud of you for staying on your IK path and not letting new responsibilities bog you down. Your embrace for your yogic development is quite valuable, Namaste

  17. I feel as though attachment is an extremely common feeling because it gives us a sense of security, saneness and comfort. As I listen and read more about yoga practices, I can see that the way of thinking is changed; more simplistic, only focusing on essential things and feelings. Attachment can be connected to everything and anything a person decides however, there is a sense of pride with a lack of attachment. Especially if the attachment is toxic for your physical, mental or spiritual health. Nothing is naturally permanent but they appear this way because we raise a kind of attachment. I tend to get attached to people and things very easily and it is something I have been working on for a while. I hope to see improvement upon this within the semester.

    I continue to practice my IK 4 times a week. I tend to do it mid-day between my classes and have moved my practice to inside my house instead of outside because the cold fall season. I also have been doing the finger holds subconsciously throughout the day and can feel my health improving. Namaste.

  18. This piece resonated with me so much; especially the discussion of the illusion of non-attachment that some people suffer from. I have met countless people who participate in activities they claim to be coming from a “higher state of consciousness and enlightenment” compared to other people. A lot of times, these people tend to hold an image of themselves that completely disregards how certain things are not accessible to different people (such as adequate and reliable recycling, eating certain types of foods, etc.), and thus in a sense ironically violate their principle of “non-attachment” by actually becoming attached to this self-important image they have of themselves. This is not only ironic in the context of non-attachment but toxic because as stated in the discussion, we should consider fostering indifferent attitudes towards certain things so that we don’t become controlled by them. When the ego perpetuates the myth that self-importance is non-attachment, it is a lie that only seeks to harm us.
    I also want to address this by bringing up the point concerning self-continuity. I grew up in a religious household with very rigid myths about the afterlife, and as I grew older I never quite knew how to describe the problem I had with this. I now realize that what it is, is the principle of self-continuity. As stated in the talk, this problematic principle results in us clinging to myths of reincarnation, the afterlife, or a basic form of immortality/soul redemption. This seems to contradict a lot of what major religions stand for, which is helping your neighbor and being kind; shouldn’t we do those out of selflessness and not because we want to gain gold stars that will push us through the pearly gates? I do fully understand that some people do use this expectation of the afterlife as a positive motivation and not a selfish one, so I do not wish to come off as disrespectful. But we also have to learn to accept our own mortality if we are to be unattached to the biggest “leech” of all: the ego.
    To conclude, we should come to terms with our mortality and thus lose our attachment to the ego because the only certain thing about life is the “here and now”, not the “later but only if you follow a specific set of steps to get there”. A point in the talk proves this: “True immortality is embracing life to the fullest and in all of its mystery”. By placing a delusion of immortality and continuity within the context of our mortal human lives, we create an impossible ideal that can never be achieved, only aspired to in the abstract sense. The only thing we can be sure of being attached to is the present and the Earth; these are our roots. While not having answers is about why life is the way it is can often be imposing and scary, if we trust in the Universe and allow itself to work things out naturally, we need not worry about the speculative future or risk clinging to mythologies that can never be proven to manifest.

    To summarize my IK practice:

    On Friday night, I completed the Kriya in accordance with the meteor shower. So far, this has proven to be the strongest spiritual resonance so far; I felt extra powerful underneath the night sky and during the practice of my witchcraft meditation. I also shared the practice with a friend so that we could do it together under the stars.
    On Saturday night, I couldn’t sleep; massive insomnia. I fell right asleep after doing the Kriya but I think it actually may have worked a little too well because I woke up at 2 in the afternoon! The final time I did the Kriya this week was tonight, Tuesday night. For some odd reason, I had still had a lot of energy today despite getting no sleep. It was hampered by a few morning pitfalls (I spilled coffee on my shirt and was a few minutes late for work, on top of injuring my toe on the table when I ran out the door), but ultimately I started crashing by the end of my night class. Feeling restless at the same time, the Kriya helped calm me down and also directed me away from all the noise that was permeating the walls during the time when the upstairs neighbors were training their pet elephants (this is really what they’re doing, I’m sure of it).

    • You have very powerful energy. Very soon you probably will be able to utilize it to realize any goal, continue to practice, be mindful and witness your powers. You are in the midst of a super blossoming now! Namaste

  19. While listening to this I thought of a saying my grandmother always says “Happy go lucky”. She always thought that was the best way to go through life. This reading in particular to me seems like it is really striving for living life in a happy way in a “happy go lucky” way. Whenever I think of happy go lucky people they seem to be the ones that are naturally unattached. One of the happiest people I know doesn’t care much about what his hair looks like, or his clothes, or about what other people thinks. He’s unattached from the unimportant things in life. I think it’s an amazing way to be. I do however have to disagree with the idea that the more attached one tries to be the more attached they become. I think if you are actively trying and thinking ‘be unattached’ you will fail, but if instead you think ‘I shouldn’t care’ or ‘that doesn’t matter’ then you will eventually be successful. I also believe there are several things that are important to be attached like family, partners, loved ones, life goals, careers. However at the same time it is good to be malleable so if a career isn’t working out you are ready to try something else.

  20. Humans crave the tactile, for it makes them feel as if the world is understandable and in their control. However, this is hardly the case. The idea of non-attachment is not just a means to free one’s self from material greed, but also from the idea that the world is predictable and within our comprehension.

    Being free from objects is quite simple when compared to being free from one’s body and world. The idea of the material is not only applicable to the things we buy, but also to our corporeal experience. The mantra “I am not my body, I am not even my mind” comes to mind. Once one is free from these constraints, they can truly be one with the yoga lifestyle and philosophy. Ascending to this state of mind is by far the most difficult aspect of yoga. To be free from one’s body/mind, one must ironically also have a strong mental fortitude to achieve this state.

  21. The Aparingaha Yama of non-attachment or greed is elegantly envisioned by John McAfee as the illusionistic source of much meaning in our lives. To me what we are attached to is also what we many times find meaningful in life. The sense of meaningfulness is almost the same as attachment in the way that this mysterious metaphysical part of humanity can never really be dissolved in ones head. The act of it dissolving would be the meaning in and of itself.

    Like many other advise within enlightenment practices, McAfee expresses the ultimate resolution to this problem would be to ” be present in the mystery/ chaos”. This certainly would deminish the meaningfulness/attachment in ones life, but cautiously someone must be aware that the possible lack of continuity within a life at some point will be challenged by the human constructs around us.

  22. Non-attachment I personally find is such an interesting Yama. Though non-attachment is something that should not be a following. It should be something that becomes personal and organic to non-attachment. Understanding what we are attached to help with the personalization of non-attachment. Also finding out why we are attached to things as well a way to understanding non-attachment.

    My own Isha Kriya practice has been a tool for non-attachment. It has helped me realize by making time for this practice in my day to notice what is important. Weeding through what is required of myself to perform and what I truly don’t actually need to do.

  23. I think the idea on non attachment is one of the harder Yama’s to grasp. I do not believe complete indifferent to the things around us is the goal. Creating a non attachment to a lasting legacy or immortality seems to be the best way to practice non attachment. It is not that you can not appreciate the world around its that your impact and connection to it should not be a result of craving immortality. That is my understanding at least I think again this is a tricky one to pin down. Of course being obsessed with your possessions is a problem but total indifference and lack of appreciation for them is just as much of a probes.

  24. It was interesting for me to listen to this short Yama because I am a person who gets attached to things and people extremely quickly. I enjoy familiarity and prefer having a schedule; as in, I like knowing what I will do in a day and going about my tasks in the most efficient way possible. When thinking about attachments, I definitely have noticed that we cannot will ourselves to be unattached- and those who think they have achieved this have simply traded in their attachment to the attachment of being unattached, making them feel superior.
    When going through breakups in relationships or friendships, a tactic I’ve always heard was to forget about them by force, or will yourself to break off of the person and relationship. This Yama confirmed to me that willing yourself into unattachment will not work. I have seen people try and fake this unattachment, but it only shows that you cannot get around your ego; I have also noticed that many people’s egos actually grow once they consider themselves “too good” for certain attachments or things to pay attention to. I don’t think that I can make myself stop becoming so quickly attached, but this definitely motivated me to take a closer look at what I am investing myself into and maybe narrow down the things on which I tend to focus my attention on a daily basis.
    My IK practice is going. I still haven’t been able to practice all 7 days of the week but I do make sure to do it at least 4 times a week. I stay in the city at home for half the week and usually stay on campus for the other half; when I am at home I practice in the mornings and when I am at school I usually practice at night while my roommate studies. I prefer morning practice now; it feels like a solid part of my routine and gives me time to myself the entire morning, as I do other solitary things like doing my makeup or taking a long shower. I prefer morning practice as well because I feel less jumpy and stressed throughout the day; I can become easily agitated so practicing in the morning helps me to face the day with a clearer mind and has helped me to stop overreacting or having such intense mood swings when faced with a miniscule everyday struggle.

  25. While learning about the Non attachment yama, it discussed the absence of greed as well as why we as people feel the need to become so attached to things not only material objects but ideologies, political beliefs and religion. I for one get attached quite easily because I give meanings and stories to things. I relate a lot of nostalgia and experiences to objects, and memories that it is hard for me to let go. I feel that this is a blessing and a curse because it is nice to remember and find meanings, but it makes it harder to move forward in life and to release the past in order to move on with less baggage. This yama also mentioned how if we do the complete opposite of attachment , there becomes a pride in lack of attachment which defeats the purpose because it can cause one to become smug. This reminds me of the minimalist movement where people have began downsizing in order to live a more sustainable or simple life. Looking into minimalism, it can be seen as a privileged and individualized thing to do. In one documentary I saw, one man essentially has one of anything he needs and took pride in mentioning that everything he owns can fit inside of one bag. This to me felt like he was bragging as if he were better than people who could not even count the amount of things they owned. It makes it seem like he had no room for other people in his life or to receive gifts or acquire things from loved ones, to this extreme it feels like it would be isolating and blocked off. Another thing that was stated in the yama was that attachment makes us feel secure and holds onto our ideas of continuity and that we as humans crave permanence. I agree with this because with capitalism and our western beliefs, we believe that things can prove things to ourselves and others, that were smart, rich, cool, fun etc. rather than looking within and communicating these things emotionally and verbally. In the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, it shows how we (mainly in the west) have socially created the anxiety around death and non- permanence, but that letting go of these beliefs will make it easier to live and let go.

  26. Regarding my IK practice, making time for myself to do it has made me realize that there is enough time in the day to set aside and do something that is for my mind and spirit. It has allowed me to be aware of things that could effect me negatively emotionally or energy wise so I am now able to avoid them or know how to cope when they come my way. It has also allowed me to create an inner dialogue within myself to find my center, calmness and strength.

  27. I have to say the Aparingaha Yama of non-attachment is one that I both resonated with but also disagreed with. When I think on non-attachment it reminds me of how vulnerable I am to dissociating especially when I am feeling anxious or unconfident with regard to my environment and how this can come in waves. When I was younger though I remember my mom really reminding me and teaching me not to be materialistic. I didn’t have the newest clothes or have the desire to want them. I didn’t even have a social media account or a phone until I was 17.. which is very late in comparison to other teenagers, I went into sephora for the first time in my life last week. Although some people find pleasure in this and can get a good balance of it. However I will say that I sunk into this feeling of detaching myself because I did not want to be seen and I think I have written about this in other post. I have a twin sister and found that because of our connection and how open and vulnerable we are to each other that I do not confide or communicate well with others because I tell myself that they will not understand me in the same way that she does. However I think that this one of the negatives sides to non-attachment and that it is something people can get into a habit doing to fake feeling invincible. However I also found that I sometimes found myself surrounded by friends who were incredible negative and that it was effecting me very badly and that I put up with it because I didn’t want to not have them. And I found that I had to be selfish and not put myself through that because it wasn’t worth it. Ultimately I think non-attachment is something that gives and takes and that we must be really conscious to what we need and what it does for us and that everything in moderation, is something that we should really try to remember. We need to listen closely to ourselves more.

    • What a wonderful essay! I think it’s great you and your twin sister have such a special bond, but maybe that’s because I just became a Grandmother to twin girls last week! All the best to you and yours. My records show assignments #7-10 are missing if you have already completed do cut and paste to my email or complete all by Sunday here, OM

  28. With regard to my IK practice I think it is the same thing that everything is in moderation but that if we aren’t fully committed to the process that it won’t matter either way. We must be cognitive to ourselves and not proceed half-heartedly because being unattached does nothing for the process and journeys we are on to strengthen our own stability.

  29. In the secret of the Yama’s Aparigraha is defined as non attachment. In understanding how to adapt this Yama into our lives, we must develop an attitude of indifference in order for us not to be ruled by attachments. Although no practice can reinforce complete non attachment, we can consciously make efforts to separate our wants from necessary needs. The accumulation of attachments enforces artificial barriers creating a space where fear can thrive. Since we know little about non attachment, we’re not always sure how to address it. Our ideals and beliefs allow us to make ourselves continuous. But if we are unable to disrupt, unpack and detach from the things we use to pacify our progression, we will continue to live in isolation. The craving for continuity and the repetition of routines have left people feeling safe in the “known”. But yet if we don’t let go of these comfortable beliefs, we’ll continue to live in an artificial environment. “I” is the fragmented thought that divides the world and the ego continues to crave a life of continuity fueled by fear.

    But once we start to fill our lives with practices that have purpose and yield positive results, we can shift our minds from attachments to spiritual growth. My weekly Isha Kriya practice allows me to go deep within myself, to block out all the noise and distractions and create a break in the mundane rhythm of my busy school and work schedule Although the Isha Kriya mantra said is always the same, each practice gives me a different experience. Sometimes positive emotions arise and there have been moments of negative emotional release but the commitment to the practice allows me remove the excess and focus on positive emotions. I now have better sleeping patterns, recall information quicker and in times of stress I can acknowledge those emotions and address them so they don’t control me.

  30. I found this audio clip to be very thought provoking and eye opening in terms of the discussion on attachment and continuity. I agree that humans tend to lock themselves under a metaphorical chain constructed of attachment. We become easily attached from almost anything to people, concepts, and even physical objects (phones, clothes, makeup, etc.). Because of this, we have become stuck within ourselves and the “safety” bubble we have manifested. This has only increased the sensitivity of people and kept them trapped, as the audio clipped put it, in continuity. Because we choose to stay in our comfort zone/bubble, we also choose to stay where we are and ,therefore, never truly learn to move forward and evolve as well as learn to accept changes. We attempt so desperately to keep things we want them to be that we have led ourselves to believe the world we have created to be real when that is simply not the case.
    I have kept my IK practice to a minimum of three times a week. However, I try as often as possible to attempt four times a week when I can. I’m also attempting to do my practice in the morning since I have noted that that is usually more effective for me and it tends to keep me at a much calmer mood throughout the day. Overall, the practice has helped with the usually stress I have so that has been good.

    – Samantha Diaz

  31. This audio speaks about attachment to things and love and people. It explains that we feel safe by attaching to certain things by living thoughts that are just illusions with our attachments. In this reading I understood that we must stopping holding on to the material things we acquire and stop giving them so much importance. We love and for some, it becomes dependences the Yama is a guide to letting go of the power we give things that will not leave the immortality we try to achieve. It tells us that we must find a balance between what we have and what we are, as well as how we want others to see us. I feel that labels are an attachment that my generations loves to cling to. We are beings free to be whatever we want to be what label it one thing. Humans tend to hold on to things in order to have hope for their unknown, instead of letting go and finding peace.

  32. Listening to Yama and the idea of non attachment at first frightened me because attachment pairs with safety and the idea of striving for that type of ideology means separating myself from my immediate world. I am attached to many different things in my life that I rarely seek detachment from like my friends and bonds that I have made in the time I have been on this campus, because of my idea in investments. As people in consumerists society I believe we take investing to a whole other level, we believe if a certain amount of time is spent on a phenomenon then our placement will be just, but already realizing the structure that we our built in makes me feel like I’ve started detaching myself. First comes the mind and awareness and then actions should follow which is what I learned from Yama.

  33. In order to incorporate this Yama into our daily lives, we must first come to fully understand who we are as individuals, and what our sense of self truly is. We must first identify the areas in our lives that are dominated by attachment to material and/or superficial objects. We must then realize how much energy we spend on these attachments, and how detrimental that can be to the areas in our life that should provide us with the most fulfillment and inspiration. In order for our “I” to be continuous, we must be continuously coming to terms with new areas of attachment in our lives, and deciding whether or not this attachment holds true to our sense of self. If not, it must be eliminated completely. Some attachment is healthy in maintaining mental stability and clarity in navigating one’s journey. However, that attachment must be carefully positioned in ones life so that it may accentuate the detachment from so many other unhealthy distractions that cause us stress, cloud our judgement, and block our continuous path to spiritual enlightenment.

    I believe that complete non-attachment, while helpful for spiritual growth, can leave someone feeling without a purpose in life. It is important that moderation be applied in this practice with the utmost care taken. The slightest excess could lead to one being pulled towards an unhealthy attachment, which could then throw off the entire spiritual growth progress that person has made, all because they weren’t satisfied with their current healthy attachments.

  34. I have been doing the IK 5x a week consistently. I feel as if my voice is becoming more harmonious as I chant louder and louder. I also feel more rooted to the ground lately, and at times can even feel tension leave my neck and back traveling down my spine out of the body.

  35. I’ve always thought of attachment as being the root of suffering, and I think this reading validates that thought. Like some of the other topics discussed in the secrets of the yamas, I think this idea is a bit abstract and something that we should aim towards, but may never accomplish. I’ve never really put together our love of continuity with our tendency to attach ourselves to things, but it definitely makes sense. If individuality is based in continuity, does that make attachment our nature? If our nature is to attach, is it possible for a person to let go of that attachment and still maintain their individuality? Practices like the IK touch upon themes of non-attachment, and I think my practice with it helped me to more fully understand what’s being talked about in this chapter.

  36. This piece sparked my interest due to what I’ve learned to be the fundamentals of childhood psychology. Secure attachment styles are an indicator that a child will grow up to participate in healthy relationships with friends and romantic partners. Attachment sort of goes along with expectation, and it is widely said that expectation is the root of unhappiness. I still feel that attachment is a natural part of the human experience and I tend not to fight what is natural for me. I do have a rather addictive personality though, in the sense that when I find something that makes me feel good or happy, I continuously seek it out. This continuous repetition or exposure to whatever it may be can cause a feeling of extreme disappointment when it has run out or if it is no longer as accessible. Contemplating the effect that practicing this yama might have in my life is important, because I have already been doing more work on myself to be able to let go of things, but putting a name to it and understanding McAfee’s approach is helpful.

  37. very inciteful. as we go about our daily lives we all collectively have bought into this idea of what it means to be a citizen. that if we live by a set of rules and hold specific ideas above all else we will be successful in life. Yet we are all different, and we all have a different goal, our own attachments. we Hold onto an idea of who we want to be.
    But perhaps we should learn to let go of who we want to be, and just let the forces that surround us guide and shape use. what we want and what we need are two different things. I am reminded of a song of the rolling stones. “you can’t always get what you want”

  38. The reading of “The Secret of the Yamas- A Spiritual Guide of Yoga” is an interesting read. The section we listened to was talking about non- attachment and why do we get so attached to things. What I got from it was that we get attached to things that make us feel comfortable. Once we get comfortable, we start to become ungrateful. Everything that brings comfort like your home, clothes on your back, school, etc. can easily be taken away in a second without you realizing. The way we don’t become attached to items or people is by not getting comfortable and understand that things can get taken away from us.

    I think that once people get things that they never imagined getting, they forget to still be humble. We tend to forget that the same way we didn’t have it before is the same way it could happen again. People need to realize that being comfortable also doesn’t bring change to their life and when their world gets shaken up, they don’t know how to cope with things. I’ve always heard being uncomfortable is the best position you could be in because it really allows you to make quick, but good decisions and it shows your character.

    Being comfortable can be detrimental to your own growth or character. When you are comfortable, you forget how to approach things the right way because it’s like whatever to you, which hinders your growth. When you are comfortable, you tend to not take risks because you’re scared of the possibility of a new change. Being attached comes from being too comfortable.

    It also mentioned how our pride and pettiness come from being comfortable too. I find this true because for example when you’re comfortable with always having things go your way and you always being on top with the people in your life, no one is going to correct you unless it’s someone you don’t know. If you’re circle of friends always let you have you’re way, you’re comfortable with having high pride and being petty because you know no ones going to ever correct you. It isn’t until either your circle of friends speak or you try to be petty towards someone you don’t know that they will shut you down and it can have you reevaluate the way you act.

  39. This Yama reminded me a lot of the ancient Greek tradition of Stoicism. Non-attachment in the pursuit of knowledge feels like it would be a noble and fulfilling goal. In my experience however, it has resulted in an indifference which makes meaning dissolve into fugue frivolities. To be impassive in the face of pain or pleasure requires a deadening of the self that can be impossible to recover from. This is the biggest obstacle in my life, at the moment. I’ve been told there is a constitutional difference between stoicism as a reaction to fear of loss and stoicism in the pursuit of knowledge, but I must admit that I am so stuck in one that I cannot conceive of the alternative. For me, non-attachment has resulted in unhealthy lack of fear, which leads to dangerous behavior and disregard for personal safety or goals. It has also made me feel that any reward, whether it be money, praise, status, or objects, is ephemeral and empty.

    Other comments on this post have mentioned attachment as the root of suffering, but I would like to argue that anything worth having is worth suffering for. The reason attachment causes suffering is because losing something one is attached to means losing a part of oneself. If I am attached to nothing, I cannot be personally wounded because there is nothing in this world that is a part of me. I am as indifferent to the world as it is to me. This line of thought can’t continue long without reaching its final end, death. Why should one even be alive if they are already like a specter, untouched by anything of the physical world? It is like already being dead.

    Compassion means feeling the pain of others and, if pain and pleasure are only superficial fetters in life devoted to finding truth, then empathy is but another distraction from the metaphysical truth. The way people experience emotions is relative because how the body perceives the concentration of any endocrine signal is relative. If we feel pleasure constantly, usually in the form of an addiction, the feeling becomes less and less powerful. Like how we cannot sense movement, save for accretion, we cannot sense happiness, except in comparison to the void it has filled. To experience despair is necessary to appreciate happiness, and the interplay between the two are responsible for movement and growth within an individual. Detaching from the world so that it can’t hurt you is like giving up all of your possessions so they cannot be stolen from you. Either way you end up with nothing, the only difference is in one scenario you have the chance to claim it was by choice.

    • Well stated and supported by your honest investigations. I hope one day you may find your way to do Seva serving an organization that provides services for a clinic, Namaskaram OM

  40. Sometimes I think about how literally nothing is permanent (“Change is the only constant.”); every thing, every life, every single system put into place is will fall to ruin at some point. Even the physical universe itself is expected to dissolve. This is terrifying and may encourage a nihilist view; what is the point of building a house that is only going to crumble? The reality is that while it may not last forever, you build a house because you need one to live in. You maintain it against wear and repair it, and the work is never done. And you grow to love this thing, or at the very least accept as a fixture in your reality. Perhaps the house outlasts you, and you feel as though you have done a fine job, and in your dying you imagine that the house stands forever, maintained by your children or what have you; this is, of course, a delusion. But perhaps the house burns down to the ground in your lifetime? The nihilist knows that everything ends and that there is no point to caring about a house. But you, the existentialist, feel that you have failed at maintaining this thing which you love, because you have grown attached and have sunk years into it. How do you reconcile the existentialism and nihilism? What if this is a person instead of a house? How then do you claim non-attachment?
    Non-attachment is perhaps not best employed as a paradigm of complete nihilistic aloofness, but a tool for grieving. Fostering an openness to and acceptance of loss can help one more healthily deal with the inevitable flux which we must deal with in life.

  41. This reading speaks about non-attachment. Before hearing this reading, I thought of non-attachment as spoken in the beginning, as being attached to our things. I’ve always tried to separate myself from the things I have to not become obsessed with things, but what I found intersting was the discussion of trading things for the lack therof.We become attached to the idea of non-attachment. In return we gain this since of pride and have become attached to that, thinking that we’re above other people. I liked the definition that greed is the attachment To the idea of more.

    Most people want to rid themselves of some kind of attachment, but don’t understand it. We can’t create non-attachment, but should work to understand that of which we are attached. Attachment is rooted in comfortablility. We become comfortable with ideas, people and things.

    I believe as long as there is life there will be attachment. To me, completely removing yourself from something means that you may have stopped caring about it. I will always have an attachment for my family. With attachment comes pain, but it’s something you begin to accept as you get older. Maybe to be without attachment is to be without a care for the world we live which could be a dark but beautiful thing, but I think it’s something that human beings will not achieve.

  42. In this reading of the Secret of the Yama’s, non-attachment is discussed. Toward the end of the chapter it is mentioned that attachment is a prison. I think this is a bit extreme, as if you have no attachment to anything, there is an apathy that one could develop to the physical world. To have no interest, or attachment to anything or anyone seems very harmful from my point of view, it seems like a person completely disengaged from the physical world.

    I think where attachment becomes increasingly negative is when it turns into the continued desire to posses and control, both physical objects and loved ones. This can be extremely negative and can develop into abusive relationships.

    Again, just like with all the yama’s, I think it is important to learn about and be mindful of these practices. You aren’t going to immediately cast off all your physical belongs and wealth and live like Francis in the desert. And if you do, as the reading said, you would be too prideful of yourself, thinking you lead a higher life than others. To be mindful of what you need in life, and what you simply want, is incredibly important, and this yama illustrates the concept well.

  43. This is a late submission for Journal Entry 8

    The principle of Aparigraha can translate into the principle of lacking greed. However, it has the other translation of the principle of non-attachment. Although these translations can appear to be two different principle of life, they go back to the same concept. Greed is attachment that has evolved beyond simply attributing some level of importance to our possessions. Greed is not being satisfied with what we currently have and craving more in the hopes of satisfaction, yet it is to never be achieved in that manner. But that basic attachment that people have to items, other people, and concepts has to stem from somewhere. The need that people have to attach themselves to something comes from their need to have some form of self. Attachments keep us grounded in our sense of individuality and the longer we keep those attachments, the longer we continue to maintain that sense of self. People may attach themselves to more things over time out of some kind of fear of no longer being themselves, even though those attachments are what prevents them from achieving a sense of self-awareness. But it is also important to note that unless people are truly ready to give up their attachments – and therefore their sense of self – it is not possible to completely give up those attachments for that higher awareness they seek. This creates a problem of feeling superior over others who still have some form of attachment. This type of thinking does not lead to the goal that non-attachment is meant to lead to.

  44. Non-attachment is an interesting topic. I have always tried not to get attached to things, people, etc because of that feeling of need that people usually get, that feeling of comfort that once you don’t have it, it leaves an empty space inside. I never thought that the source for this attachment is the craving for continuity and how we want immortality. The fact that this world doesn’t really have anything that lasts forever we create this world with all of our attachments and we make it the known to us, this becomes our safe place, it could either be a house, material things, people, ideas.

    We, humans, tend to imitate the non-attachment which isolates us even more from the rest and from this happiness and a good life. If we live with the idea of a perfect future or a perfect past, then you are not living in the present (from last week’s audio), you’re not bettering the “what you’re becoming”.
    It is true that when you love someone in any kind of way, we tent to get possessive of this person we love, but something that was said in past audios is that life should be spontaneous in order to find joy in it. If you’re worried about what you have and what you don’t have then you’re living to control, you are living for others and not yourself and this is not the path to happiness.

  45. We feel the obligation to impose upon ourselves the eternal, that which will not fade nor degrade. We believe that the immortality of our selves will compensate for all in our lives that we know will not last forever, such as our youth, our objects and our statuses. When we detach our selves from the need to last eternally, we will find only a clear path toward what we truly desire in life, what ever that may be.

    If we force ourselves to accept a mind in which we refrain from any and all attachment, we find ourselves straining to maintain this new person we have created for us to inhabit, one that abides only by their newly-imposed way of being, and thus attached and greedy for a greater status among peers.

  46. I often find myself in discussions with family and friends about this topic of continuity specifically. I find living a life of sameness is one unlived but rather, sheltered from the excitement of what the world has to offer.
    My friends/family are usually in opposition of this belief stating that famous saying, “if it ‘ain’t broke, why fix it?” While this may be true, living a life of uncertainty and risks is much more riveting than not. Therefore, they see the concept of continuity living as a means of life while I find it to be the opposite- in fact, the thing that is broken and needs fixing!
    I am happy to hear that a lifestyle of difference is praised in this video. We must let the Earth guide us on the journey in which is has set forth rather than, hide behind the barriers that block us from its beauty!

    • Your writing is just as your Mom states “flying by the seat of your pants”, any review is a phrase rather than a paragraph or two, there is no reference for your statements, and all too brief to qualify as essays for Yoga Journals.

  47. Aparigraha, known as non-attachment is the absence of greed. Greed is merely an attachment to the idea of more. To live unattached poses the question of whether we give up everything we are attached to, feelings, objects, relationships, ideas, etc. What we really we really should do is foster an attitude of indifference to the things about us. So that they have no control over us or we should let go of the things we cherish most in order to experience the full impact of our attachment. We should recognize immediately we cannot will nonattachment into existence, no discipline can create the quality of non-attachment. If we give away all we have, wear rags, we essentially are only trading our attachment for things for an equally debilitating ideal for nonattachment, we become proud in our lack of attachment. We feel superior, smug, and we will have restricted our small existence even further through self impose and restraints. We shun the possibilities of life even further from ourselves. Even cultivating an attitude of non attachment merely creates an imitation of indifference, if we were successful such indifference would only further isolate us from the rest of life. We want to cultivate nonattachment yet we know nothing about attachment. Until we understand the rest of these attachments, any attempts to create nonattachment will strengthen our source of attachment.
    Why are we attached to anything at all?
    Attachment is rooted in our craving of continuity. We feel secure in the fragile construction of our existence, the sameness of our jobs, homes, and our regular activities.
    We have built walls to keep out fears and uncertainty, narrowing ourselves to a circle of ‘the known.’ Becoming comfortable and familiar, and we begin associating ourselves and our identity with our outside environment and inside ideals and beliefs. This identification helps us to live the illusion of self perpetuation. Continuity is about how we want to make ourselves continuous, we vaguely perceive the reality of death and hope for personal immortality in spite of it. Clinging to the ideas of something after hoping for us to live on and for ourselves to continue. Because we see that nothing in life is permanent we create an artificial environment, by doing this we remove ourselves from what is not and in the now there is no real place for continuity, thus we create walls of our own prison.
    What is this individuality we’re so desperate to obtain?
    Who is the ‘I’ that seeks continuity?
    What exactly are we attempting to make?
    The answer is, the ‘I’ of the past, the ‘I’ created in memory of and by the process of thinking. It is merely a fragment of thought, dividing the world into me and not-me, mine and not mine. It is the Ego. The ego craves immortality and it is the ego that creates our own prison of continuity through the mechanisms of attachment. Immortality can never be achieved as long as the ego functions. When we embrace life for the fullness of each moment with full acceptance of i’s mystery, we are living in the now, without attachment, or the desire to continue.

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